Sue Thomas faced overwhelming odds when at the age of 18 months she became profoundly deaf. With dedicated parents who refused to institutionalize Sue, they set out to provide the tools that would enable Sue to live and survive in the world of sound. It was imperative to them that little Sue would learn to speak, even though she heard nothing. This began years of speech therapy to give her the voice that would be heard around the world. "It is only in the silence that we will truly hear the still small voice of God, the silence will teach us, if we listen." ~Sue Thomas
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
I have had an incredible life with an incredible story—God's greatest sinner saved and transformed by His grace and His grace alone!
Most who know me know two things, I am profoundly deaf and worked for the FBI as their secret weapon with my lipreading expertise and later—had the award winning TV series called Sue Thomas: F.B.EYE inspired by my life. The second thing you might or might not know is that I carry the FBI name in a very public way. I am Sue Thomas, (F)irm (B)eliever (I)n CHRIST.
I was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and faced overwhelming odds when at the age of 18 months I became profoundly deaf. With dedicated parents who refused to institutionalize me, they set out to provide the tools that would enable me to live and survive in the world of sound. It was imperative to them that I would learn to speak, even though I heard nothing. This began years of speech therapy to give me the voice that would be heard around the world.
Deemed “a dummy” and put into the slow learner class throughout my public school days, I was finally discovered by my typing teacher who saw the raw potential that was concealed by my deafness. Through the life of this teacher, I went on to college where I studied Political Science, International Relations, and received my BS degree before doing post-graduate work in counseling at Case Western Reserve and Columbia Bible College and Seminary.
Being profoundly deaf, was the one thing that drove me to the Lord. For 35 years in spite of being successful with the FBI using my lipreading abilities to capture the bad guys, I resented and despised my deafness and the silence. My deafness kept me from the very thing that I love—people. Helen Keller said it best, "blindness separates a person from things and objects; deafness separates a person from people." How well do I know these words.
I tried to run from the silence in every way possible, alcohol, drugs, alternative lifestyle, you name it, I did it to try to find acceptance and live with the silence.
My parents taught me as a child that God never makes a mistake, but the older and supposedly wiser I got—I believed my parents were wrong, and that God did indeed make a mistake when He allowed the silence to over take me.
I left a successful career at the FBI to find God to make Him confess He made a mistake. I found Him in seminary in what is now known as Columbia International University in Columbia South Carolina. It was there at the age of 35, that I fully surrendered to God at the foot of the Cross in all of my shame and sorrow. It was there on that day, that the transformation of my life was to become complete for the very thing that I hated, despised, and rejected—the silence—would be transformed into my best friend, the thing that I loved the most—the silence. It is only in the silence that we will truly hear the still small voice of God, the silence will teach us, if we listen.
It was with that transformation thirty five years ago, that God placed in my heart to build a sanctuary in the wilderness where the silence would never be broken, "that God's people shall return from exile far away and will rest beneath His shadow, and be as a watered garden." (Hosea 14:8)
The Wonderful Sanctuary & Vision of WaterBrooks
WaterBrooks is a wilderness sanctuary nestled on 113 acres in the green mountains of Vermont. It's indeed a different kind of place. It's a refuge, a strong tower, a place where the silence is never broken, and a special place where one can come and know that He is God. WaterBrooks is not a church, but a place that God’s people can be strengthened and then return to their church to strengthen it’s body. We ask for your prayers in the days ahead that Almighty God will provide accordingly in the richness of His Son, Christ Jesus. Our needs are great as we build our first project for the lodge. Only God and God alone can bless our endeavors for His glory and the hope of His people.
The silence will teach us if we listen. Perhaps, just perhaps, the church bells will ring once again to call His people to worship.
Sue is the co-founder of WaterBrooks a sanctuary being built in the green mountains of Vermont and Operation Silent Night, an outreach to the homeless.
Sue continues to travel and be a witness for the Lord. Churches and Christian functions can book Sue through the Ambassador Agency and ask for Gloria at (615) 370-4700.
My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me...he kept bringing up this one name...Jesus...Yet, I continued to shrug him off.
Christopher J. Maskey
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
These are the words that were spoken by Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—who has changed my life and this is my testimony.
Many of you know me from preaching the Word of God, and from helping lead others so they come to a place of accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. But, my life wasn’t always like this—my daily thoughts and motives weren’t always this way.
I grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City, named Cold Spring. It was a quiet little town, where I would end up spending the majority of my time alongside, my mother & stepfather. My biological father and mother split up shortly after I was born, and my mother married my stepfather when I was around 5 years old. My father had problems with drugs and alcohol and when I was 6 years old we had received the phone call that he was found dead in his apartment from an apparent suicide. As a child, my mother wouldn’t tell me the truth of his death—she would just tell me that he was really sick. Even so, as a young child, it affected my life and was always in the back of my mind that my father was gone.
My mother was my best friend. She was the best mother any kid could ask for—on top of having a great stepfather, who was always supportive and there for me—it kind of took away some of the pain, I was experiencing with losing my father at a young age. As a kid, they both decided it would be best that I attended a Catholic school where I also took part in all of the required sacraments and was an altar boy. At this time, my mother & stepfather, were truly seeking the Lord in their lives, and became disappointed because they just weren’t finding what they were looking for inside the Catholic church. They eventually gave their lives to Jesus Christ and both became born- again Christians.
The majority of my childhood, I remembered my mother & stepfather reading their Bibles, going to church, and both living their entire lives for Jesus Christ in all that they did. They did all they could to lead by example, and to teach me the truth about the Word of God and Jesus Christ. As a child, I believed in Jesus Christ—but the temptations of being a teenager, and getting involved in the things of the world took precedence in my life.
During my senior year of high school, my life took a turn for the worse when my mother got the phone call that changed our lives forever. She found out that she had cancer and needed to be immediately rushed in for radiation treatment. While most of the kids were enjoying their final year in high school, and planning on where they were going to college—my mind was occupied day and night with the health of my mother and what my life was going to be like without her if she died. I noticed my mother and stepfather always were praying, and instead of me joining them—I hid behind drinking and using drugs to take away the pain of what I was feeling. At 17 years old, I was borderline an alcoholic and stared to experiment with drugs to escape from reality. I remember my mother would always keep a positive outlook, and her faith in Jesus Christ was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Standing before these doctors who were showing her the cancer that was growing in her—she continuously, remained strong and trusted in her faith in Jesus to get her through it.
As the months went by, my mother went through numerous surgeries, radiation treatments, and she was now but a shell of the person she once was because of it. The cancer had literally destroyed her body—but it couldn’t touch her spirit. My senior year came and went, and eventually my mother’s cancer had gone into remission right before I was to start my freshman year of college. I went to a local college about 20 minutes away and was able to still come home and visit my mother and stepfather often to check up on her. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal—my mom’s health was improving, and my new life as a college student had just started. Shortly into my sophomore year—the cancer had come back, and as it did—I continued to seek comfort in drinking and using drugs. Coming home and seeing my mother smile knowing that she was struggling was tough to see, but one thing her and my stepfather always had was their faith in Jesus Christ. It was during my sophomore year, that I came out to visit my mother, and she had the difficult task of finally telling me the truth about my father—he didn’t die because he was sick, but that he indeed killed himself. My life was crushed, all the years of believing he was just sick now, I had to face the fact that he committed suicide—I truly wasn’t prepared mentally to walk around with this news. My mother and stepfather always would talk about the power of having Jesus Christ in their lives, but I ignored what they told me and tried to seek comfort in the things of this world.
Halfway through my junior year of college, the cancer was now fully attacking my mother’s body and was more aggressive than ever. I decided to drop out of school and move back home, so I could take care of her, and spend every day with her while she was fighting for her life. Shortly after, she was asked to come into Sloan Kettering’s cancer center in Manhattan for a last effort surgery to remove the cancer that was inside of her mouth and throat, but just an hour into the surgery the doctor’s called us down to let us know that the cancer had spread throughout my mother’s body and they knew there was nothing they could do. My life came crashing down at that point, and reality set in that soon—I was going to be losing my mother. We walked back up into the recovery room to see her sitting up smiling, and asking how she did—I didn’t have the heart to tell her the news the doctor told me, so I just hugged her and told her how much we all loved her. Throughout her entire battle with cancer my mother had her Bible right next to her. I couldn’t understand where she was getting this courage and comfort from just reading a book—she was staring at death and yet she wasn’t afraid at all.
A couple weeks later my mother finally passed away. I was now a 21 year old college dropout, no job, no money, medical bills coming in, and I just lost my best friend in the whole entire world. It was just me and my stepdad living together in our little home, and I remember how he used to tell me about Jesus, and how I needed to fully ask Him into my life, but—I still wasn’t ready. I was very angry inside—angry that my father killed himself, angry that God would take my mother away from me, depressed and at that point—I really didn’t care much about living anymore.
The drinking had fully taken over my life—drugs were taking over as well, and I began to seek ways to take out my frustrations in life, and I found it in the form of music. I had always been interested in hip hop music; it was my life for the majority of my childhood and as a young adult. The sound was very aggressive, angry, and the songs were full of violence which was exactly fitting for the way that I was living. I began going to the studio week after week, getting high on drugs, and creating my own songs. I was going on the radio performing, doing shows, sleeping with different woman every week—the life of a rock star as many would call it. The pain and anger in my songs was something that really made me stand out from the majority of the other artists, and I was quickly making a name for myself in the New York music scene. I had opened up for some of the most popular artists in the industry and it seemed as if my time was coming to be next. It seemed on the surface that I was happy, but inside I was full of pain. As the years went by, I had lost sight of who I was—the drugs and alcohol had fully taken control of me, and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize the person I was looking at. I never once faced any of my problems. I buried them deep down inside—hidden behind a wall of drugs & alcohol, but I found out quickly that just because they are hidden, doesn’t mean they go away. My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me, and kept bringing up this one name—Jesus. Yet, I continued to shrug him off.
I maintained this lifestyle for over 6 years, and with no sign of any future or reason to continue living in my mind. Until the day that Jesus Christ finally got hold of me. I was coming down off of a 2 day binge just sitting in my room, and at my lowest point in life. Staring at a picture of my mother—depressed and upset at the thought of how disappointed she would be of the person I had become. I sat back on my bed and then it happened—I overheard in the other room my stepfather listening to a message from a preacher on the television. I walked closer to the door, and I felt something leading me to listen to what was being said. It was as if the preacher was talking to a whole congregation of people, but the message was directed towards just me. He started talking about sin, and how Jesus Christ died to take away our sins to give us a new life—A NEW LIFE??? That’s what I NEED!
He then started talking about the devil and how Satan wants us to keep seeking drugs, keep seeking alcohol and women. It was like everything I was hearing was about MY life. How could this be??? Then the preacher said the one scripture that forever changed my life. He quoted from the book of Matthew when Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Rest??? Nobody needed rest more than I did at that very moment. Rest from running away from my father’s past, rest from the pain of losing my mother, rest from the anger inside of me, rest from all the drugs and drinking that ruined my life—I was mentally and physically exhausted, and now this man is telling me that Jesus Christ can give me rest??? I wanted to stop, I wanted to change, but I was so scared because I didn’t know how—and, I didn’t think I was strong enough to leave behind my old life and fully trust in HIM. But I knew that I wasn’t going to last much longer if I continued, and it was at that point I fell down to my knees, and called out to Jesus Christ—with tears in my eyes I said, “I just can’t do it anymore—I was ready—I needed rest—I needed a new life—I NEEDED JESUS!!”
I can still remember the prayer I made. I said to Him that He could have my life, but I just ask that you find me someone that I can marry and have a child with to start over and have new life together. I remember asking for Him to bless me with a good job so I can provide for my family. And, I remember just laying down everything—fully giving my life to Jesus Christ that day. I felt like a new person, I felt like for the first time in years the weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders, and I just wanted to live every day from there on out for Jesus.
As I sit here and tell you my testimony, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost 9 years already. Since then the Lord has completely blessed me with a new life, a happy life, a lot more abundant life than I could ever imagine. Shortly after I called out to Jesus Christ and asked Him into my life, He introduced me to an amazing woman, who eventually would become my wife. We’ve been together now for over 8 years, and have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy, and a 2nd child that is on the way in November. I was also blessed to land a great job shortly after meeting my wife, and I’ve been there for over 8 years as well. Literally, everything I asked for when I gave my life to Jesus Christ the Lord has blessed me with, and more! I look back at where my life was, and where He’s brought me from and I can’t help but praise the name of my Lord & savior Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—for saving me. My change was not overnight—little by little He’s been removing my old ways of living and replacing them with His righteousness, changing me into His image, and He’s still working inside of me every single day.
For years now, I have been completely free from the hold of alcohol and drugs in my life, free from feeling the pain and anger that was inside of me, and replaced with His everlasting love. All along the answer to my problems was right in front of me—the same thing that my mother used in fighting her battle with cancer—the same thing my stepfather used to get through the tough times of losing my mother, and—the same thing I needed in MY life—Trusting in Jesus Christ and asking Him into my life.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Jesus Christ died not just so you and I can have eternal life, but He also died so we can experience true life on earth, the type of lives that our Heavenly Father wants us all to live! All we have to do is trust in Him and seek Him to give it to us—and it will be.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
I urge anyone out there who may be reading and listening to my testimonial video below, to call on the name Jesus Christ. You don’t have to keep struggling—there is a way to obtain a new life. And it’s not by going out and trying to conquer your problems on your own. COME AS YOU ARE! The bible says “Come! Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” If He could change my life—He can change yours for it was nothing that I did, it was all in Jesus Christ. I was just willing to take that small leap of faith and call out to Him, admitting I’m a sinner, acknowledging that He died for my sins and was raised 3 days later, and then finally asking HIM to take over my life—HE hasn’t left my side since. If you are struggling in life, please don’t wait another day. NONE of us are promised another hour in this life. Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life—He’s the only way to bring about the changes we all are seeking in our lives on earth. I come to you as someone who was once in your position, and I plead with you to stop fighting these battles on your own, stop running—JESUS is waiting with open arms for you to come home—your new life is right before your eyes, and the power is all in the name of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross! Don’t wait another day.
Ruth Almada, shares her incredible story--Strength in Scars--to give hope to ones's extraordinary circumstances--especially from the pain of generational abuse.
"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)
In this life, we do not choose who we are born to or in what conditions we are born under. God knows what He is doing, and He never makes a mistake. In my book and story, there is nothing that is politically correct, ear tickling, watered down or sugar coated. It is as raw and authentic as it gets because that’s what this world needs more of-- especially, when sharing about the very REAL power of God in our lives.
My story starts off knowing, that we live in a fallen world run by the devil, and evidence of this is literally--in every single facet of the conditions that I lived in. It was most definitely not an easy journey, and with being born to two lost folks (my parents)--I was bound by decades of generational curses at the time of birth. However, Jesus had another plan.
A plan so powerful that knowing about it now, still very much leaves me in moments of sheer amazement and utter gratitude. A plan so powerful that I am able to thank God for our trials today. I have learned along the way, that Jesus is pulling many people out of the very same hell we endured. There are no words that can properly describe this other than GLORY to God in the highest!
Here is a summary of my story:
As a child, we learn based on what is poured into our lives, experiences and environment. There is a large family dynamic, that God has lovingly and powerfully touched that governs five lines of my families generation. From grandparents to grand-babies. The easiest way to describe it is-- the enemy has placed assignments on my bloodline for who even knows how long. This spans from decades of abuse in most-- if not all--forms that seemed to keep repeating over and over with each new generation.
My story talks about this from my own experience as a girl up until roughly eight or so years ago. I have experienced physical, emotional, sexual, and mental trauma most of my life and--on many different occasions. In many instances, I thought most of it was perfectly normal yet, knowing deep down inside there must be a better way. I remember thinking, I wish I was normal because normal people could cope with life far better than I could. I often felt that something was deeply wrong with me. This was the 4th grade me, who didn’t realize that in my terms of “most” I was looking at people, that had not endured what was occurring and--had occurred most of my life.
I gave my life to Jesus as a girl, but didn't realize until YEARS later the profound impact of the ultimate changes of my path would be based on this vital and literally life-saving decision. It was not until my painful past was attempting to replay with my own children, that a true consensus needed to be made no matter the cost and WHAT A COST it was! I am eternally grateful for Jesus, and owe him absolutely everything!!
I have seen first-hand unexplainable miracles in my life, and the very fact that I am even alive today is most definitely one of them! I have been raped, beaten, molested, mocked, and tormented all before the age of seven. Many of these instances happened other times even after this. I tried drugs for the first time at fourteen, and this was given to me by my momma. I also became a momma, right after my seventeenth birthday to a beautiful set of twins, that I couldn’t afford to care for.
With the deepest heart-felt intentions--I place them in their paternal grandparents home while, I served in the US Army--not knowing the real intents of these two people that I loved deeply. They did unspeakable things to my twins for the first few years of their lives. They wouldn't even let me have them back, and I had to fight for several years in court--with almost every spare dime, that I could muster to get my boys away from them. I never understood why until several years later.
There was a sick, dark, and sinister plan unfolding in my children’s lives that I didn’t even know was there. It was not until my precious daughter, Hope, had the courage at the very young age of three to tell me. The rest is in the book however, I can tell you this much, our story is NOT just our story, it's MANY people's stories. God has done such a work in my life and in the lives of my children, that the ripple effect has now spilled outside the doors of our home on to other family members such as, my siblings and parents and many others.
God has broken these curses all of them that included: pedophilia, rape, poverty, abandonment, abuse, word curses, and many others. He has HEALED my mind, body and spirit. He has HEALED my children. He has HEALED my relationship with my parents and YES--even with these grandparents that did this to my children. My heart and mind has been HEALED in Jesus name!! ALL THINGS are possible for those who love Him, believe in Him, and are called according to HIS will. Who the Son sets free TRULY is free indeed, don’t for a second just think that, KNOW IT!
Our story is a story of REAL hope that the LIVING God cares, and wants to set you free from past and present bondage. He truly wants to HEAL your deepest wounds and we are living breathing proof that it's in fact possible.
The other dynamic of this is that the God of this Universe is PERFECT in duplication. His seeds produce fruit after their own kind. He also gives us the unique ability to comfort others with the same measure He has given to us! If God can set me free from my horrible fallen past and use it to help someone else (which He has and still is HELPING MANY)--then my friend--He can, and will do the same with yours! Hang in there, because Jesus is coming for you and counting on YOUR breakthrough, so you can help many others too! What He has done in my life, He most definitely can in yours! Praise Jesus!!
For years, Simone Peer, lived a life of defeat. To fill the void, she began to dive into the New Age Movement in which she became a witch that practiced Reikre, Feng, Shui, Hinduism, esoteric healing, mind control, and a lot more. One day however, she began a relationship with Jesus and she has never been the same.
"For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ ” (Zechariah 2:5)
Simone Peer Certified Professional Coach, Mentor & Trainer (Contact information is at the end of her testimony)
Growing up in the Bible-Belt—I was certainly no stranger to the presence of Christianity. There were plenty of churches on most corners.
My immediate family didn’t go to church; although there were some attempts to get my siblings and I to attend. My paternal-grandparents and great-grandparents were devout Southern Baptists. My grandfather was even a deacon at his church, but I can probably count the number of times, that I went to church or Sunday school with them on one hand. While on my mother’s side, the only presence of Christianity was that my step-grandfather was Catholic, and his biological children practiced the faith too. I didn’t view them as much different as "we" were—just in being allowed to drink. Even though both religions have distinct differences—for whatever reason, I saw them as bible-beaters, who had strict rules that were, extremely hard to live by. This alone, made me feel neglected, overlooked, and more like a burden. Sadly, I can’t say what got in the way of them trying to ensure that my siblings and I had Jesus in our lives.
I remember at one point, my mom got us involved with a church, but I think, it was more of a way to “dump the kids off” for a few hours, than caring about us learning about Jesus. I mostly remember waiting in the parking lot for a long time after church was over for our mom to appear in the station wagon to take us home. My aunt also brought us to Vacation Bible School one summer when I was staying with my grandmother. It was only one week, but it was memorable. She also got us enrolled in an outreach program that picked up wayward kids and brought them to church and Sunday school. That was 40 years ago! By the Grace of God, I still have, (and now use), the Bible I earned (for memorizing the books of the Bible). I also took with me a song: Blue Skies and Rainbows—the good parts anyway that help keep Jesus alive in my heart.
In my teen years, some dear family friends got saved, and they started to spread the word of salvation among their circle of friends. My mother, brother and I, joined in with great delight. My sister was already out of the house, so she didn’t come, nor did my father. I never knew why he had no desire for anything church or Christ related, but I always suspected growing up with his "Bible-beating" parents and family, that he must have gotten turned off to God and Christianity. He never spoke about the Bible, God, or Jesus, but—I suspect he knew all about them. There is no way he could have grown up in that household, and not read it a time or two. I’m left to wonder, if he called out for salvation before his remaining moments on earth.
The return to the church—with most of my family in tow—was the most memorable and powerful church experience of my childhood! At this time, I was 15, and found myself in a dynamic environment where the members were on fire for Jesus. It was a Pentecostal church where people jumped to their feet in the middle of service, used tambourines, and sometimes even leaped up to run a lap around the sanctuary shouting praises to the Lord. Folks also would drop down to their knees and spoke in a prayer language called "speaking in tongues. This church was alive with the Holy Spirit, and I wanted what they had! We had Sunday school and weekday Bible study classes. The pastor lived next door, and had an above-ground swimming pool. One night after service, I got baptized in that pool. I don’t remember how it came about, but I remember that it was dark outside and the idea of a whole new way of life was exciting. I wanted to speak in tongues, I wanted to be overcome by the Holy Spirit, I wanted to know Jesus the way they did. Much to my dismay, that didn’t happen—Sadly, it didn’t stick or rather, I should say, I didn’t stick to it. This would be my last attempt at knowing Jesus until He came for me about 34 years later. I remember being in Sunday school asking questions and feeling frustrated that the teacher didn’t have answers. In retrospect, I have no idea why I couldn’t satisfy my cravings or why I couldn’t get what I was looking for because now I see all the answers are right there, in the Holy Bible, but back then—I never got what I craved. I never spoke in tongues and that was a deep disappointment. After a few months of being active members, my mom, who was a hair dresser at the time, was called into a meeting with the pastor. He gave her an ultimatum—Stop cutting hair or stop coming to this church. Well, she stopped going to church. This was a devastating blow for me. My brother and I, continued going to church, but it was by the grace of our family friends coming to pick us up. We lived in the opposite direction of the church, so I imagine this was a bit of a sacrifice for them. Now that my mother was not welcome, I started to feel ostracized, like an outsider who was no longer welcome at the church, so it wasn't long that my brother and I stopped attending too. I suspect some of the things that led to us to leave was that we didn’t follow the rules. This was the kind of church where women wore skirts and dresses only, they didn't cut their hair, and they didn't wear any makeup or jewelry. I don’t remember if there were men rules, but the men did cut their hair, generally short and neat. They would call the television “the devil box” and encouraged members to not own TVs, nor participate in worldly things, such as bowling. The church was pretty strict; however, I recall at first, they said that our non-adherence to these things was not a problem, but I’m left to wonder what was really being said in private. In my opinion, they sent a whole family straight into Satan’s arms. WARNING: IF A CHURCH IS CONTROLLING AND MANIPULATIVE IN RULES AND REGULATIONS SETUP BY MAN--THIS IS NOT OF GOD, AND YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TO FIND A CHURCH THAT DOES THINGS GOD'S WAY.
When I was 16, my family moved across town and that meant new friends and opportunities. Somehow at my new school, I ended up going to a presentation in some kids’ basement that was on “backward masking”. I recall that he played Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and who knows what else backwards and—we could actually here satanic lyrics. It was intriguing and creepy at the same time. I met one of my new best high school friend at that meeting, and thankfully she found the Lord way before I did, which was a blessing for her, and one in disguise for me. I had started experimenting with smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and with some drugs when I was only 13, (yes, even in the midst of trying my best to know Jesus). Unfortunately, by the time I was 17 or 18, I was high almost all day—every day. Somehow I started going to a group meeting with teens my age who were trying to get clean and it worked for awhile. I have no idea why I quit going or what happened, but I stopped.
I mentioned the church part of my upbringing, but I haven’t talked about the occult and New Age influences. My mom was a psychic and talking about ghosts, spirits, horoscopes, numerology, and energy vibes were all common place in my childhood. I don’t know where it came from, but we had a Ouija board “game”, which I recall playing many times. Other "scary" games we played with the neighborhood kids were Bloody Maryand Wanda Witch. We would share real-life, family ghost story experiences as well and this was all normal to us at the time. When we moved to a new house—the ghost and spirit activity followed us—Lots of incidents and things happened, and we weren’t exactly freaked out about it.
My personal fascination took a deep; deep dive into the occult a few years later. My brother had sold a car to a woman who read Tarot cards and when I was home on a visit from college, I called and made an appointment to meet her—I did and was hooked. She was so radiant and her eyes sparkled with love and light. WARNING:“For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) It was during this time period, that I was drinking, getting high, and having way too much fun. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I wasn't doing well in my premedical studies. Then I became seriously ill, and didn’t have the energy to catch up, so I ended up dropping out from that semester, and a few months later moved back home.
Once I was home, I became a diligent student of the Tarot card reader. She helped me recognize that I already had “psychic abilities” and they just needed to be fine-tuned. I followed in her footsteps reading cards, but her primary lesson was to sharpen all abilities because “you won’t always have your cards with you”. She had several proteges and we each had our unique expression of our “gifts”. In addition to developing our skills, she also helped us develop businesses doing readings. I became a regular member of the myriad of psychic fairs, that were held locally and within a few hours radius of our home town. I became part of a growing network which included several occult and new age bookstores and magical art shop owners. I became a frequent flyer into these shops devouring all the knowledge I could get access to—I was building my arsenal of tools, spells, information and enchanted ingredients.
I remember walking to or from my mentor’s building one day, and receiving a “divine downloaded” message about the truth of Jesus—or so I thought. Only when Christ came for me and showed me who He really is, did I feel that lie leave my heart, forever. The message that I received all those years ago was—everything is light, we are all light, and God is light because we reincarnate for eons, and each lifetime—we have an opportunity to gain more light until in one final lifetime, we become "total light". In essence, Jesus was no different than me, except that as a teacher, He was more evolved than I was—He also had more light when He came here than I did, but eventually—we would both be part of the light, that was earned by each soul in the evolutionary process. I often signed my name with "Love & Light" because, I thought it was a tribute to this great and beautiful “truth”. I even had a tattoo, that I called the yin-yang of angels, that I thought was depicting light wins over darkness. I cried in repentance, and for Jesus to forgive me because the Holy Spirit revealed to me I actually had a tattoo of Lucifer/Satan. At the time, I thought it was beautiful and divine because the image had occult origins, but I was very blind to the real truth.
As I said, I was a sponge for the occult, and began to study witchcraft and practice magic. I became enamored with spells, herbs, oils, incense, colors, candles, sigils, crystals, channeling, psychic readings, ghost & spirit hunting, and channeling the power and knowledge of "the divine". I was a practicing witch and as such, was introduced to someone who would become my sister in the craft. Drawing more people into our circle, we all thought we were “white witches". I was into the power of sigils and spells and my sister, was more into practicing Wicca. I had an arsenal of candles, oils, dried plants, parchment, enchanted inks, crystals, incense and "sacred" items for my altar, and so much more. As I write this, I’m thinking how thoroughly deceived I was! I was into so much darkness, that I can hardly believe that I even thought I was an agent of “The Light”. The great deceiver is indeed good at his job!
In working with my sister witch, there were three others we called to us to work pentagram magic. Each of us identified with one of five main gods and goddesses aligned to the points on the pentagram for circle work, with elements and all manner of things that were designed to open us, and fill us with the spirit of the one's we picked; although I think we had already been chosen by the principal demon who had us, and were just playing out our part. I had access to the “heavens” as well as, the underworld and her influence upon me reigned as the power behind magical works of spell-craft, sorcery battles, and the ever-expanding—always mysterious—and always alluring supernatural.
Many memories flood my mind while sharing my story—part of me wants to include it all, and part of me wants to erase it all. I do remember at the beginning of this journey, that Jesus was there for me; even though I was not there for Him. He rescued me from something sinister and yet—it didn’t draw me back to Him. I think it shows that nothing happens without God’s approval—He let me go as far and deep as He needed and wanted me to go, but kept me relatively safe, so when I was really ready to live for Him—I was there to answer yes!
One of the times that God came calling, I was a Tarot card reader and working with crystals. I was at a physic fair and looking for a particular kind of stone. I spoke with some vendors, and one man in particular said, that he had some in his inventory at home, and he could send it to me. I signed up on his mailing list, and because it came up that my birthday was coming—he gave me some crystals. One was a very particular kind assigned certain tasks and properties. When I got home, I put them in my room.
That night, as I lay on my side in bed, that man or one of his demons came to me. He lay with his body and leg draped over me and spoke into my ear. I recall being unable to move, or speak. In my head, I was shouting for every piece of protection and then, I saw Jesus’ face before me and almost instantly—the demon was gone! I was relieved and shaken at the same time!
The next day, I took the crystals to a friend and she found a demon had been attached to the crystal with me as its assignment. That mission was not accomplished because Jesus did not allow it. She was an artist and drew a picture of the hideous creature. Sadly, my response to this event was not to come to Christ, but to double down in my quest for more occult knowledge; I never wanted to feel powerless or risk any degree of uncertainty about how to handle anything like that should it happen again.
I had built up a clientele for doing psychic and Tarot readings, and along the way—clients who needed and wanted magical warfare and protection began to find me. I found myself battling witchcraft and Satanism and built a reputation as someone who was not to be messed with. Meanwhile, the explosion of industrial Goth and “alternative” dance music clubs, and raves begged for the dark and mysterious. The most popular club in my town was in an old storefront in the abandoned downtown area, and I got myself set up to be the resident Tarot reader. I would set up a magical space in the storefront window and later one of the parlor rooms. Little did I know that this not only attracted fans and new followers of the arts, but also those that hate the occult.
This was the kind of place where all black, lots of leather, studs, kink and club kid regalia was the norm. There was a man that was a regular there and he was very quite. He always dressed in leather kink-wear, and danced by himself, so how we came to sit in one of the parlors and chat at length escapes me. He shared that he was a Satanist and described in detail his path. We shared and compared notes about the kinds of magic we did. Remember that I thought I was a white witch, so the black magic he worked seemed a far cry from what I did. In retrospect, now that I know ALL MAGIC IS SATANIC, I wonder if he knew there really wasn’t any difference between us. I’m not sure because he did say he didn’t like that I was a love-n-light witch, or that I was doing my thing in the club. As we spoke, we actually fostered something pleasant from there on. I tell this story because I remember thinking: “He and I are equal opposites", and I completely respect his position. I didn’t agree with it, but I respected his devotion to his craft as much as I was devoted to mine. I also thought I had more respect for him than I did for Christians because Christians were so hypocritical. They preached how people should live then would do the exact opposite. My disdain for Christianity was growing. I got to a point where I could not even say the words God or Jesus. In my mind, they were part of a system used to conquer and control the masses of the world. I laughed at the idea that Christian Holidays—ALL OF THEM—are pagan/satanic holidays celebrated by witches worldwide! When I finally came to Jesus, I learned that we need to live what He teaches to be a great witness to the world. Unfortunately, the Christians I came across both in my childhood, and during my days of practicing witchcraft—did not live out the scriptures as He teaches.
THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
I can see that God had His hand upon my journey, and the patience to get me to the point, that I could be His in an instant. Looking back to my journey out of witchcraft, I’m inclined to show how much deeper in I went. For a few months, I moved to London and brought all my light [dark] arts with me falling into crowds where everything I was into flourished.
One week after returning home to the states, I moved to a much larger city than I grew up in. One in which I had many friends and had visited many; many times. I already had friends there who were involved in dark arts and of course drugs and alcohol were still the norm. This city had a much larger cultural spectrum than where I came from and I was introduced to many new paths and forms of witchcraft. Pretty much everyone I cared to hang out with lived the same way. I recognized in some arenas, that I was the pioneer that led many others into this intriguing and mysterious realm. I continue to repent and pray for every single soul that I helped lead astray, of which there are many.
My first divergent path was into Santeria. The mother of a friend was a Santeria and I started seeing her for “cleansing”, or protocols to wash off “the bad stuff” and avail me to “the good”. Although, I don’t recall all the details the main thing that stands out is that these were limited to things that smelled good and included flowers. I was invited to attend her group meetings where I was asked to do water scrying (a basic method of divination).
I continued along my own path of witchcraft, psychic phenomena and new age “energy”, studying Shamanism (traveling into the upper and lower worlds and finding/using your power animals), and learning how to astral project. I was invited to a Native American sweat lodge because Native American practices had also intrigued me. This led to my deeper involvement into Native American and Mexican/ancient Aztec/Nahuatl practices which, included pipe ceremonies, vision quests on ceremonial lands, and lots and lots of prayers using tobacco and other herbs. There was always honoring of the ancestors. I was gifted with an eagle feather among other ceremonial treasures. This led to being introduced to a woman who practiced an ancient African religion known as Ifa. This is the origin of Santeria (as well as the Cuban, Haitian and Brazilian versions) and where my journey took a much deeper dive. The entree into this world included lots of readings with the Opele, which then led to rituals, ceremonies and initiations. This is where the rubber met the road for me, and I didn’t even know it. Animal sacrifices were a regular part of my path here. I had many ceremonies done in the darkest hours of the night with blood dripped over my head that ran down my face and onto my clothes, special herbs were then placed on my head and wrapped on for sleep. I would then wake very early to follow specific instructions to dispose of the head stuff and complete the ceremony. I had to follow specific instructions regarding disposing of the animal’s body: sometimes in a cemetery, sometimes in running water or a nearby quarry.
This morning when I woke up, I thought of how intriguing and compelling this kind of journey was and how I wished someone had told me that anything that needs to be done in the dark, need not be done! JESUS does everything out in the open—in the light for everyone to see. I listened to someone else’s redeemed Satanist testimony and he said at one point when he realized what he was involved with he actually asked…“Is this a satanic cult?” And the response was…“Yes, it is and you have already completed most of the steps for full inclusion—would you like to complete the rest?” He replied…“sure!” He wasn’t told what the other few steps included, just as many who get into deeper with their “secret lodges & societies” in order to lure members down the ladder which, leads to the threshold of no return. They get so hooked—intrigued—and likely don’t realize how dark, evil, and disgusting it becomes. They give up their freewill and give Satan a legal license to run & completely ruin their lives. Thankfully, there is a way out for them! Thankfully, Jesus took ALL sin and evildoing upon Himself and to the cross, so we might be free of the traps set by the great deceiver—Satan.
As an Ifa practitioner, I began to study the Yoruba language along with all the tale stories of the Orishas. I not only brought animals to be sacrificed on my behalf, I also did the killing as well as, ate of a sacrificed animals. I was taught this was honorable, sacred work to have gratitude for the animal taking my place. Ancestor worship was a large part of these practices, too. Along with “sacred” articles of initiation, I also had ancestor altars; everything had to be fed with prayers, food, liquor, palm oil and/or blood, regularly. I spent much time in daily prayers and practices and again—I loved it.
Because of the career I was just beginning though, I began to meet people who were doing different approaches to energy and spirit work, and like a good spiritual power junkie, I was hooked on the next new high. This new world that I entered, was actually an old one; one of the first books I had ever picked up when I began this whole journey would leap out, and lead the way into another aspect of the new Age (of Lucifer), I had not yet delved into too deeply.
Discord within the varied circles I participated in made it easy to move on. I happened upon a new thought church, and when I heard about what their beliefs were, I thought this is exactly what I believed. I didn’t know there was an organized body of believers, and what intrigued me most was the idea of omnipotence that made everything else I did seem like paltry child’s play. Finally, I was on a path that didn’t require a lot of pomp and circumstance in order to make things happen. I won’t say it was easier because the real work came in the realm of mental mind control.
“There is nothing more powerful than a trained mind”—this work did not focus on manipulating external influences to make things happen, but was put solely on the individual to live his or her goodness through thoughts that create things. The premise is that there is a “creative substance” in which all things are formed. The thought put and held in this substance—creates the thought in form, i.e. physical reality. Thus, think what you want in life and do the work to uncover hidden opposing thoughts—then root those out, so all of your thought energy is focused on what you really want. I spent a few years studying the underpinnings of this doctrine. The concept of God was referred to as the mind, universe, and the source which, is essentially terms to an idea of creative consciousness. It was the moment that this creative substance became aware of itself that creation began.WARNING: THE DEVIL KEEPS PEOPLE BLIND TO THE TRUTH.
SCRIPTURES OF TRUTH:
"Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4)
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
I had embarkedon a new career path as a life coach and a few years in, I was invited by one of my mentors to participate in something that took on a whole new “thought movement”. It was like thoughts on steroids, and the work we did was completely focused on energy and its potential. I called this navigating “the invisible side of the visible world”. This was all about having living intentional consciousness on both sides and being able to call things into creation. This is where I experienced the black goo—it was a luxurious feeling—like a paradox of excitement and deep peace. I likened it to being like liquid, pitch black, silk velvet; these words hardly express the gloriousness of how it felt to both the energetic touch and to be amidst its presence. I also called it creative cosmic goo that you could just dip in and grab huge handfuls of and create reality from it. The “work” that my colleagues and I did felt cosmic—beyond enormous and miraculous. I traveled around the world to learn and be trained in groups—I then, became a trainer myself, and I was indoctrinated into “godness”. This evolutionary consciousness work was beyond anything I had ever experienced before and nothing ever felt so good again, until—JESUS.I was completely immersed in this way of living and working. Everything I did launched from this foundation/platform and from there, I packed my things and hit the road to refine my purpose and cultivate more intimate relationships with people who mattered to me at the time. My work was done on the phone and via computer, so going global was relatively easy. What I didn’t know was what God had in store for me. Someone recently asked… “Was it God or Satan who sent you on the road?” and, I wholeheartedly believe that it was God paving the way for me to be ready for Him...sometimes you have to go to rock bottom before you go up—or in this case—look up to the true living God who was calling me for years, but I kept doing my own thing as He continued to pursue me.
A year or two before I left for the unknown, my sister and I, were serving Christmas dinner at a large homeless center. This is something that we did each year, and this particular time—one of the guests, was straggling behind at the very end of the meal. I began cleaning up the trash & putting away the salt and pepper shakers when she came over to minister to me about Jesus. I could feel Him calling me again with the things she shared. Something inside of me wanted to say, “YES!”, but I just couldn’t. Something else inside said, “You don’t believe that about Him—you can’t say yes!” Well, all of a sudden, one of the workers from the center came to rescue me from possibly going crazy and say YES! I remember leaving with tears streaming down my face. Satan’s grip was extremely tight on me, and I now know that he sent one of his minions through someone else to get me away, and it worked. This memory, has puzzled me at times, because I have wondered what was in me that wanted Jesus so much—especially because He became OK in my eyes, as I came to think of Him as an enlightened master, but not higher than any other. WARNING: THE DEVIL IS A LIAR AND KNOWN AS THE FATHER OF LIES. In Luke 8:44 is says..."He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
When I hit the road, I sold most of my belongings and then, packed my car and put the rest into a storage facility. My plan was to accept a myriad of invitations, put them all together and travel the country for about two years. I expected by the end of the two years, that I would come to know something that I didn’t know and then, have a better idea where I should live.
The biggest things that stand out during my four and a half years on the road was that I got deeper into my spiritual/energy work AND—I got further away from truly coming to know the Lord. In removing distractions of everyday life, I was able to focus on “clearing out my inner clutter”. This meant a whole lot more of doing all kinds of energy things: past life regressions, re-birthing, reikie, feng, shui, crystal bed healing, esoteric healing, DNA reattachment, entity attachment removal and a few more. I also got drunk and high at a heavier pace than I had for some time. Yes, my focus was on making money and having a good time.
About this time, I started getting interested in “truther” research. At this time, I started to notice how the music industry was becoming so blatantly satanic, and it made me wonder what was going on. I began to feel, that many things were waging war against my mind, my body, and my spirit. This spread to deeper research about hidden aliens (I was already a believer in them), and reptilians, cloning, mind control, and so on. This rabbit hole got real deep—fast! That brought something to my attention, that really blew my mind: the New Age Movement originated as The New Age of Lucifer around the same time as the New Thought Movement. I learned that the founder of the esoteric healing treatments, that I had been receiving almost every week for over two years, was a part of developing this movement—I found this very unsettling. Although, I didn’t "believe in Satan", (which is hard to believe because of how much dark and evil I was involved with)—I didn't like the idea that something I found to be so much about love, light, and healing had its origins in something so purely dark and evil.
By this time, I had settled into what was finally and quickly becoming my new permanent home. As part of my settling in, I joined the Unity Church because I wanted to integrate into my new community, and it was the closest thing I was aware of in town that aligned with my beliefs. I went deep! In my opinion, I really grew in this community, that I jack hammered away at limiting beliefs, and went back to my new thought roots. While on search for a new minister, I gave the Sunday morning talk a few times, and each time—was a reminder into how much I loved this stuff. I was able to draw upon my historical teachings, blend it with the creative cosmic goo, and mix it up with my truly unyielding faith in God. I truly believe, at some point along the way—that I was always and earnestly seeking to know God. SERIOUS WARNING!!! I was looking for God, but in the wrong places. THE UNITY CHURCH IS NOT A TRUE CHURCH—IT’S A CULT!! This cult, teaches the principles that promote a way of life that leads to one’s health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind. They seek to “create their life” experiences through their way of thinking. To do this, they align themselves with specific mediation's. THE BIBLE WARNS US OF SUCH THINGS, SO WE ARE NOT LED ASTRAY AND, SO WE CAN TRULY COME TO KNOW CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR. ANYONE OR ANY CHURCH THAT GOES AGAINST WHAT GOD TEACHES IN THE BIBLE, IS A SERIOUS DANGER SIGN TO STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS!! A CULT DECEIVES PEOPLE FROM KNOWING THE ONE & ONLY TRUE GOD. AS SATAN DISGUISES HIMSELF, AND PEOPLE FALL FOR ALL THE LIES & FALSE MIRACLES—THEY ARE LED RIGHT INTO THE PITS OF HELL INSTEAD OF HAVING ETERNAL LIFE WITH JESUS.
BIBLE SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU AVOID SATAN'S SCHEMES:
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine.Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
"God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:13-16)
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception..." (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)
"For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty." (Revelation 16:14)
A few months prior to Jesus coming for me, I signed up for a series of energy sessions that utilized a combination of techniques to help clear PTSD and trauma memory from the nervous system. The process was based on some particular body movements in conjunction with saying certain things. The result was to reboot the brain and clear the neural pathways. It relied upon Neural Linguistic Programming as well (NLP). The first session mandated an NLP script while doing the hand techniques that focused shutting the door on suicide—this obviously dealt with death which, I didn't do in awhile. The standard technique was done a few times a day throughout the week. After the first week or so, I started feeling anxious and restless. I was waking up in the night stalked by death. It was strange and disturbing. I reached out to my coach/practitioner and requested an urgent session, then she walked me through some other scripts, and then back to the “close the door on suicide one”, and something amazing happened. In my mind, I could see a room with a door that opened up to suicide. I also saw myself trying to pull it closed with all of my might while at the same time —a demon was trying to pull the door open with all of its might. The instant I realized what was happening—a bright light emerged causing the demon to instantly let go, and whooshed/sucked out into a big black hole of the universe. Again, Jesus rescued me—In fact, He kept on rescuing me—until, I was ready to be saved!
On Thursday, June 29, 2017th, I watched a video titled, The World Belongs to Satan which was a testimonial interview of Alice Cooper. (Video is below) Anyone growing up when I did, and doing the things I did—knew and loved Alice Cooper, so to hear him tell his story was the straw that broke Satan’s hold on my life. Alice mentioned something about a hellfire deliverance ministry, and as soon as he did, I pulled out my phone and started searching for deliverance ministries in my town. One link led to another, and I landed onBibleKnowledge.com.BibleKnowledge.com, helps people grow in their relationship with the Lord through teaching(s), and there's a variety of other topics that a person can search to find answers as well. As I read through the requirements for deliverance, I learned about breaking off generational curses. It was through deliverance, that I learned about salvation. The most important intimate relationship that I cultivated was the one I had with God. He turned my heart of stone into flesh, and I could feel it! When Alice Cooper spoke of deliverance, something inside of me said GO, and I could feel my heart cracking wide open, and Jesus was there. It was His love that was bigger than anything that I was looking for before.
Witchcraft and the occult is a lot like addiction; at some point you’re going to need more and more to see how far you can go. In reality though—Satan just keeps sweetening the pot and enticing people to go deeper and deeper until one day—there’s just no turning back. I can hardly believe this whole story is just a glimpse into my life, but all praise, glory, and thanks to God that it’s not now!
When it was all said and done, and I mean done—I cast Satan out of everything. With tears pouring down my face, life pouring into my soul, and peace pouring into my body—I said, YES to Jesus! Then I said to Him, “I don’t know what all of this means, so I ask that you to teach me”—and teach me He did!
One minister that really helped me understand how dark the path of “light”, I was living in was—Johanna Michaelsen. Johanna, authored the book The Beautiful Side of Evil, which demonstrates that Satan doesn’t really care about what kind of supernatural work it is because—IT ALL WILL KEEP US FAR AWAY FROM JESUS!! Her personal story, really opened my eyes to the truth of how evil my life had been.
The Holy Ghost just took me from one teacher to another, and I quickly learned about demonic/satanic legal ground and— just as in Acts 19:19, I realized that I too, had to get rid of ALL THE STUFF IN MY HOME, as well as—quit yoga because it’s Hindu god worship—no matter how one tries to spin it. Every pose in yoga is designed to worship, and evoke one of their many millions of gods. As much as I loved it, I quit on the spot even with two more months on my unlimited class pass. Acts 19:19 says, ”Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” WARNING—THE DANGER OF YOGA! Yoga is a 2,000-year old Hindu religious practice used for spiritual and occult purposes. It is pagan—it is part of the occult/the devil, and GOD STRICTLY FORBIDS IT!! All the physical postures of yoga, are keys to unlock the spiritual realm with the purpose of becoming "unattached from oneself and the world”. YOGA IS VERY DANGEROUS AND GOES AGAINST SCRIPTURE!!
BIBLE SCRIPTURES TO HELP YOU AVOID SATAN'S SCHEMES REGARDING YOGA:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
“Now the Spirit “expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”. (2 Timothy 4:2)
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Within the first week of my salvation, I threw out everything in my home that I could find that had a connection to the occult or new age. Occasionally, I still find a little something here or there that for whatever reason went unnoticed; maybe just I didn’t have the eyes to see fully yet, or I had bypassed it in my flurry to purge my home of the enemy—when I come upon it now, out it goes! WARNING: Please DO NOT give any occult items to those you know or to thrift stores etc. because, it will only be recycled out back into the world, leading others astray from the truth of Jesus.
After salvation, one of the most critical factors is deliverance. Deliverance made way for me to put a lot of emphasis on spiritual warfare and to armor up! I think spiritual warfare through Jesus is one of the most powerful gifts of salvation, especially in order to live this life for His glory despite the enemy’s attempts to derail us. In the Bible, Ephesians 6:10-18 teaches about THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD. It is this armor that protects us from what Satan tries to do to us in our daily lives.
THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD: (Ephesians 6:10-18)
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints"—
The Armor of God
I hope that my story helps you avoid the many demonic pitfalls that I feel into. It is only through Jesus that we have eternal life, and I fall more in love with Him everyday! May you prayerfully consider to give your life to Christ as I did. It's the best decision, that I have ever made!!!
SOME HELPFUL SCRIPTURES FOR YOU IN YOUR DECISION TO FOLLOW CHRIST:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
Yes, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, King of Kings, Lord of Lords swooped into my life, filled my heart and drew me to an absolutely new way of life.
Saved, Delivered, Baptized, Testified, Devoted, and doing the best I can to obey, learn, listen, follow, and—everything else in God's plan for me. Meanwhile, after a lifetime of occult and new age spirituality, I've been busy doing what many do when they're on a coaching journey: walking a parallel path.
One is where I use the discernment I'm gaining with eyes to see and ears to hear to clean up the life I created and lived for over five decades.
The other path I'm walking opens up my mind, world, life, reality to experience what it is to really know Christ. To understand and exult in what it truly means to have a Savior. To be loved that much is kinda mind-blowing. It's all new to me, and I couldn't be more delighted, excited and blessed!
Professionally, I'm exploring what it means and how I can use my coaching and mentoring expertise and gifts for God's glory. I've got some ideas, but it's not really up to me, is it?!
Today, I find myself getting slightly grieved with conversations from those who have no idea about the lifestyle or mentality of the LGBT community. I find this grievance to come about, because of the lack of knowledge of this lifestyle. I take it personal, because years ago...I too was part of this community and here is my story.
"For nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37)
As a young girl, I found myself to be different, not because of any skill or creative ability, but because at a tender age of 5 I started to have a strong attraction to women. Most people argue that this is not possible...but that's not true, and perhaps...it's the reason that there's hardly any awareness for children struggling with their sexuality at such a tender age. In kindergarten, I used to tell my best friend that I was a boy. I was not abused nor mistreated in my home, as a matter of fact, both parents were in the medical field and married; not to mention a big part of my life. I lacked nothing. My mother used to pray with my eldest brother and I...she taught us about Jesus, and how to hear the voice of God. As a child, I paid attention to the wise words of my mother, but there was always a voice that I would hear. I now know that this voice was Satan.
This voice tormented me, and would say that, I was going to hell. In my innocence...I took this as, that I was "going downstairs". I ran upstairs to tell my mother, while she was on the phone, and she turned to me and said...“Well, go downstairs”. She didn’t know what I meant, and I didn’t know how to express it, so I never said another word about "going downstairs". Fast forward to my preteen years...I began to flirt with the imagination of being with a woman, from having crushes on older women to telling myself what to dream about. I fantasied about being intimate with women, placing myself as the masculine figure. I then, joined online chat rooms, and started having relationships over the phone with women until high school, when my dreams became a reality. This is when, I entered my first relationship with a woman, that took my innocence. From years of that relationship...I entered into another relationship with a woman. This relationship was my longest, and it changed the woman I was, and I ended up in the darkest place of my life.
Although, I was indulged in a perverse lifestyle, I still considered myself to be a good girl, but this relationship took me down a spiral. Hurts, infidelity, down to stealing finances, I dealt with it all...right down to the fact that suicide had become a pleasant option. I would try to listen to songs that would keep me depressed, and for some reason Marvin Sapp's song---He Saw the Best in Me, came on an R&B station. It blew my mind because gospel hardly played on this station especially in the late hours, but God was speaking to me through this song. At that moment, my identity was broken and enough was enough.
I remember taking a shower and saying 3 words that changed my life forever; I said, “God, I’m tired”. I went on to say, "take it away", and I introduced myself to God as if, He never knew me. I told Him everything down to my favorite color. That was a Saturday and then, that Sunday...I gave my life to the Lord. I hardly got any sleep, and I showed up to service right at the very end...when the doors of the church were being opened. I thought I was arriving on time, but I guess you can say that I did arrive on time. Since then, God has restored my natural affection towards men, and not once have I backslid with a woman or looked back to desire that lifestyle. God set me free and changed my fragrance! I am happily courting and planning marriage in the soon future. I am here to say with confidence, that JESUS will and can set you free! He died for the homosexuals just like any other sin---He loves you, and He will make you brand new!
Tiara's Testimony on YouTube has reached many around the world!
George Carneal, was raised in the Bible Belt, by a Southern Baptist minister. Throughout his school years, he was tormented with physical and verbal abuse. George was called a queer, faggot, and a homo. Eventually, he turned his back on God, the church, and fully immersed himself in the queer culture. Today, he shares what God's love has done for Him so others can also break free from the lies and grip of sin.
"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12)
George Carneal -- Author, Speaker, Singer/Songwriter
I’m a Baptist minister’s son who grew up in church and gave my life to Christ when I was seven years old. I also struggled with a same-sex attraction. Living in Tennessee, in the Bible Belt, in the 70’s, homosexuality wasn’t a topic I heard about unless some random person was making a derogatory comment about “fags.”
All through school I was tormented with physical and verbal abuse with one guy threatening to slit my throat. Being called a queer, faggot, homo, I didn’t understand how my peers were able to identify something about me that I hadn’t been unable to understand and come to terms with myself. This was confusing.
At church, the pain was compounded by the inevitable sermons on Sodom & Gomorrah. I felt condemned by God for something I didn’t ask for. On the inside I was filled with rage and told God I hated Him. I suffered in silence.
While heterosexual peers dated, I spent 12 lonely years yearning to be loved by a man. A random encounter with a guy out of high school confirmed this is who I was…a homosexual. Shortly after this encounter, my father was relocated to a church in Florida.
Not long after the move, I ran into a guy who invited me to a local gay bar. Walking into a bar filled with attractive men was overwhelming and exciting. I finally found a “home” where I wasn’t being bullied, could be myself, and be around other guys like me. I craved affection from guys and became promiscuous.
Since countless “loving Christians” insisted that God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah because of vile perverts like me, that God created AIDS to kill queers, and that I was destined to burn in Hell, I believed that maybe God does hate me. So, I turned my back on God, the church, and fully immersed myself in the queer culture.
Sadly, after three years in the gay life, I was masking the pain with drugs and alcohol. Pornography became a part of my life, I developed a sex addiction, became a hustler (a male prostitute), struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, and eventually attempted suicide. I felt no hope.
My journey would eventually lead me to Nashville where I met a guy, we became boyfriends, and moved to Los Angeles. I secured a job in the music industry.
After seven years, we broke up because I was still tormented and struggling with my faith and sexuality. I longed to be in church and eventually found a church home. I was filled with constant anxiety for fear that these Christians would discover my secret.
After church I cruised adult bookstores and bars because I was so hungry for affection and love. Random encounters meant quick sex, but I didn’t care…it was a brief moment of feeling desired by a guy. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I was searching for something to fill a void in my life. I had yet to comprehend that Jesus was the answer.
After a mild confrontation with a deacon over rumors regarding my sexuality, I left the church and found a gay-affirming church with a homosexual pastor. Surely, I would find the answers and come to accept that God made me this way. The turmoil was still there. Unable to find concrete answers, I left that church.
Working in the music business, I had the chance to meet and be around countless celebrities/rock stars/movie stars. In our celebrity-obsessed culture, many believe that fame and fortune will bring happiness. However, some celebrities weren’t that pleasant to be around and appeared to be just as unhappy as I was. I personally knew miserable people with immense wealth. It was clear. Money and fame doesn’t bring happiness.
I extended my search into the occult, new age and Hindu arenas hoping to find different paths to get to God. I still yearned for Him even though I wasn’t sure He wanted anything to do with me. I had no desire to serve Satan but wondered if God was holding out on information that Satan was willing to impart. Could I get to God through a supernatural means?
Casting love spells seemed appealing...as I desperately wanted a man to love me, but something in my spirit...compelled me, not to open that door so I didn’t. I spent countless hours in new age/occult/psychic bookstores, browsing through various books on “world religions”, while waiting to have my tarot cards read by psychics. I was desperate for answers yet became cynical when all they could provide was vague information about relationships and financial issues that could be applied to anyone.
The New Age emphasis on sacrificing ourselves for the good of mankind, fighting darkness that was consuming the world, appealed to me. The search for “ascended masters” to become more enlightened intensified….with no luck.
Attending a Hindu temple in Hollywood, the “teacher” read from sacred Hindu texts, even God’s Word. While Jesus was respected as a great teacher, He was also equal with other Hindu gurus. That was unsettling. No matter how confused I was, something was settled within me that Jesus was God’s Son and no one compared to Him. I also knew idols had no power and I certainly wasn’t going to bow down and worship them.
Additionally, the new age and Hindu (even Buddhist) teachings regarding reincarnation were distressing. My current life was one of misery. The thought of being reincarnated, coming back to live many lives over and over and over in order to become perfect, striving to reach moksha (Hinduism)/nirvana (Buddhism), without any knowledge of past mistakes in order to do better in the next life, brought about more despair.
Deep within me, I knew Jesus was the one, all-sufficient Savior who paid for my sins on the Cross. Instead of me having to do the work, Jesus did the work and that comforted me. God confirms that we live once, and then...the judgement (Hebrews 9:27). I eventually, rejected the Occult/New Age/Hindu teachings.
I wanted a relationship with God, but I didn’t want to be around Christians. I hated them. Church was a place of anxiety for me. The thought of attending church was like going into the lion’s den.
Disillusioned with life, one night I drove to a Christian bookstore in Long Beach. I searched for books on suicide, but from a biblical perspective. After one failed suicide attempt, I was ready to try again. However, I feared God would send me to Hell for taking my life. Suicidal thoughts were as common as what I thought about eating each day. The depression was brutal. I cried all the time. The voices in my head tormented me. I needed peace. Finding nothing on the subject, I sat on the floor and cried.
I went back to the bars and slept with men in order to mask the pain, the loneliness, only to struggle with constant heartache as I desperately searched for love.
Sitting at a dive bar in Hollywood one night...(among the prostitutes, hustlers, former jailbirds, drag queens, kids tossed out of homes because they were queer, women whose wrinkled faces revealed difficult lives, and old gay men getting drunk at the bar)...I faced the cold, harsh reality of life. This could be me. My heart hurt for those people. During this time, I was unable to share how much God loved them by what Jesus did on the Cross because, I couldn’t see it for myself thanks to mean-spirited “Christians”. I was a vile homosexual. I had no hope yet something had to change. I couldn’t do this any longer.
A television commercial from a local church advertised a Bible Study on the book of Genesis. I felt led to contact them and spent two years attending that Bible study. I hungered for God and enjoyed studying His Word. My view of God started to change. I eventually started to see that God didn’t hate me. He hated my sin. There was hope that I could have a relationship with God! I also met Christians who truly had the heart of Christ as I slowly immersed myself back into the church.
God eventually led me to a Baptist church through a retired pastor. The current pastor moved to have a class for LGBT individuals. I was excited because I would now have a safe place to meet others struggling with this issue. Unfortunately, the pastor and teachers were moving us in the direction of “Being gay is OK, we’re under Grace, God created you that way” and I was confused. Scripture is clear we are not to abuse God’s Grace (Romans 6:1-2; 14-15).
I had heard numerous stories of LGBT individuals whom God was bringing out of that life so I was perplexed as to why the pastor/teachers were pushing us into that life. I was now more confused. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted dealing with this issue, especially when I didn’t ask for these feelings!
I sat in my car so many times and cried, banging the steering wheel, yelling at God, begging Him for an answer, for peace! I often prayed this sincere prayer to God: “If homosexuality is OK in Your eyes, give me peace about it and I trust You will put a good Christian man in my life who will love me. If homosexuality is wrong under all circumstances, give me peace about it, help me to recognize it, and I will still serve You.”
As the months passed, wanting to believe that “gay is OK”, I was still tormented. I said enough and accepted that it was not in God’s will. I left that church, turned my back on the gay life, repented, and truly surrendered my life to Christ. The most amazing thing happened. God gave me what I had longed for my whole life...peace with myself, peace of mind, and finally...peace with God! The issue has been settled and I am no longer tormented in my mind or by my past! (Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 103:12; Romans 8:1)
Numerous LGBT individuals have accepted that homosexuality is not a part of God’s plan. Some LGBT individuals have transitioned successfully into a heterosexual life. Those who still have a same-sex attraction, like myself, have chosen celibacy. We desire to live a life that honors and pleases God. I’ve been on this path for about 13 years now.
The Apostle Paul asked God to “remove the thorn in his side” and God responded with “My grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). If this is to be my thorn, so be it. What matters is that God provided the healing I needed in order to have the strength to walk away from that life. My desire for sex with men no longer controls me!
This journey has been difficult, but I praise God for bringing me though it because I now understand God’s grace and His mercy. There is hope for everyone no matter what your bondage is….drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, even issues of shame, rejection, abuse, rape, guilt of abortion, criminal activities, etc. If one is truly sorry and repents, God’s free gift of salvation is available to anyone who wants it (Romans 6:23). Jesus paid it ALL on the Cross at Calvary when He shed His precious blood for our sin. God desires to have a relationship with you but you must come His Way and that’s through Jesus. (John 3:16-17; 10:9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). Give your life to Christ today and know real peace. You matter to Him!
**In the back of George's book, he put all the talking points the LGBTQ activists and Christian liberal theologians use and he debunks them with Scripture. He says..."So if you have individuals in your life who are not willing to listen to this give them the book or at least get it and familiarize yourself with those talking points so when they do come at you and say no; no it's okay you can give them scripture because they are not going to sit down and study God's word to get the truth for themselves."
Connie, grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive alcoholic father. His actions, left her with emotional scars which caused her to believe lies about herself.
Connie Tresedder Author; Breakthrough Coach for Christian Leaders, Entrepreneurs, & Coaches
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth." (Psalm 139:14-15)
The third born of three and only daughter in my family, I am an out-going, funny, joy-filled lover of people. I love to teach and interact with others. I have taught at the college level for over 20 years; taught junior church at my local congregation for about 15 years; and a youth group for high school and college age students. I currently lead a women’s group which encourages us to find and move forward into our God-given passions and purpose. What most people don’t know is that I suffered from low self-esteem for much of my life. People who know me now would be shocked to hear me say this. By listening and watching me speak, most would think I’ve never had a problem with confidence. Just the opposite is actually the truth.
This is because I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father was an alcoholic. When he wouldn’t come home after work, we knew he was at the local bar drinking. My mother, two brothers and I would spend the evening with a knot in our stomachs. We never knew when he would come through the door but we knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant when he did. I went to bed scared many nights. My father never physically abused me, but those of you that have suffered verbal/emotional abuse know that this leaves scars as well. My father would become physical sometimes with my brothers and mom. I don’t remember ever sleeping through the night if I went to bed when my father was still at the bar. He was loud, angry, and cussing when he would return home. Often he would make my brothers get up and out of bed. I would lie in my own bed listening, worried for my brothers. He usually just opened the door of my room and swore at me as I pretended to be asleep. Besides speaking words to me that I cannot imagine uttering as a parent, my father never seemed to have any use for me. I did not feel valued by him in the least.
These types of nights weren’t the only thing that caused me to be nervous as a kid growing up. I felt the need to keep all of this from my friends. It is not an easy secret to hide when you live in a small town. What would my friends think if they knew? I was convinced their parents would put an end to our friendship if they knew what went on inside my home. I felt ashamed for having a father who drank and acted the way he did. I was in elementary school when I realized the way my dad treated us was not “normal” compared to what I witnessed at my friend’s homes.
I will be forever grateful for one of these homes I was invited to for a neighborhood Christian kid’s club. I attended every day for a week when I was in 5th grade. The gospel was shared with us through stories each day. I remember on the last day having the opportunity to invite Jesus into my heart. I had never heard the “Good News” before. Though I had been baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby, we had never attended church since moving to Michigan when I was six years old. Little did I know that day when I raised my hand while all heads were bowed, and prayed the prayer of salvation, that my life would be changed from that moment on. But, that is exactly what happened.
The challenges in my life did not magically disappear but everything felt different. I knew I was not alone. I knew there was someone to help me get through the challenges. I knew there was hope for my future. I asked my mom to buy me a Bible and she got me a teen version of the Living Bible. This was so easy to understand and had devotional type readings throughout. I devoured the Word like someone receiving water in the desert. Looking back at my life I see so many answers to my first prayers. God had a specific plan for my life and he has been so faithful leading me along my life’s journey. Each chapter has built upon the last. In this season, I am being used as a Christian life coach and speaker to bless others. As God would have it, I end up being blessed as well. It is exhilarating teaching and encouraging others to step into their purpose for this season in their life. I am so humbled when God uses me to help someone identify and move past what has them “stuck” in one area or another. This includes facilitating inner healing for past wounds at times, or helping someone re-wire their brain so that worrisome, negative thoughts don’t hold them back. I am discovering God puts us in community with others so that we can all keep moving forward in His plan for us.
Back in 5th grade, the same family that invited me to the Christian kid’s club, started bringing me with them to church. It was a Bible teaching, evangelical church where I soaked up truths about God like a sponge. Though I strayed somewhat in high school, I still read my Bible every night. I know now that Jesus never left me, but just patiently waited for me to turn back towards him, which I did when I found promises in His Word that I couldn’t deny. I remember thinking, "Why am I making choices that go against God's Word when...I could be living for Him completely, and receiving ALL the blessings He promises?" I had no mentor or adult helping me come to this conclusion, but I’m convinced people somewhere were praying for me. John 14, is what He used to get my attention. The whole chapter is full of promises, but my teenage heart really soared at the truth of verse 13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. Truthfully, this verse still makes my heart soar. I now know the power the Comforter promised in this chapter. I know how to listen, be taught by, and receive the peace offered by God’s Spirit. I understand that God intends to do life together with us and that his plan is above and beyond anything we can imagine.
When I was a young college student God started the process of supernatural inner healing for my childhood wounds. I came to the revelation that the way my father treated me was more about him than me. I understood that my father was broken inside and probably full of self-loathing. Though I don’t know what events or circumstances played a part in my father’s brokenness, God taught me that hurt people, hurt others. God cultivated a compassion in my heart for my father and I was able to forgive him. When I look back now, I realize this is nothing short of a miracle for God to give me so much grace to act maturely at this young age. This was such a blessing because the last three years of my father’s life we became closer than we had ever been. I had finished my undergraduate degree and got married a few years before my father was diagnosed with cancer. He stopped drinking and underwent surgery and treatments. The next three years, was a roller-coaster of emotions. He would respond well to a treatment, and we would all be filled with hope only to have the treatment stop responding several months down the road. Up and down we went, but I am so grateful for the time I and my husband had to spend with him and my mother. We enjoyed time together doing fun things like playing cards, going to movies, and eating good food. My dad was fun! Who knew? He absolutely loved my husband, and I felt like my father was proud of the woman I was becoming. I cherish the memories from this season and am so thankful I chose forgiveness over bitterness.
How could I not forgive my father when my heavenly Father forgives every one of my sins beginning back in 5th grade? I knew full well that Jesus had paid the price for not just my sins but my father’s sins, as well. I am confident that my father is in heaven because he was able to receive this great gift. This isn’t to say I haven’t had to deal with some issues throughout my life. I explain in my upcoming e-book, how all our experiences throughout life make us believe things. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the things we believe are lies! The tricky thing is, when we believe a lie, we don’t realize it’s a lie because we believe it! I love helping people uncover these lies and receive healing like I did myself. When my own father didn’t value me, I believed the lie that no one else would. Why would anyone find value in what I taught or shared? How convenient it would have been for satan if I had continued to believe this. He could have stolen my calling, my voice, and my purpose, but that wasn’t my story. Healing and re-wiring our brains is a continual process, and I am ever so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of people's spiritual growth and healing.
Through years of domestic abuse, Darla Colinet, came to know that the mindset of abuse, starts at an early age. Being unaware of her brokenness, domestic abuse, and Christ’s truths about love made her vulnerable to become a victim of an abusive marriages. From overcoming domestic abuse to living and loving fearlessly...Darla, now focuses on
educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Darla Colinet Champion for Abused Women, Christian Keynote Speaker & Author
Overcoming Domestic Abuse: Living and Loving Fearlessly
The mindset of abuse starts at an early age. Loving and following Jesus doesn’t make you immune from being deceived into an abusive marriage.
Even though my parents loved God with all their hearts, and they tried to do their best, they were too afraid to let God and other professionals help them work through their brokenness. They lived in unhealthy co-dependency and were rarely available for me.
The result of their unavailability left me feeling love-starved as a child and young woman. My natural quest to feel loved left me vulnerable to being date raped at the age of fifteen. The wounds from the violent rape were painful. However, the words from my father’s mouth stating, “I was unworthy of good love,” shattered my heart. His words changed my self-worth and the course of my life.
To prove I was loved I took the first offer of marriage at the age of eighteen. I married the “bad boy” in town who claimed to be a Christian, and I endured thirteen-years of abuse. I was acting in the broken design of love I knew, which is what we all do.
Without knowing Christ’s design of love, I used what I understood as love to try to fill the holes in my heart. Being unaware of my brokenness, domestic abuse, and Christ’s truths about love, made me vulnerable to become a victim of an abusive Christian marriage for thirteen-years.
Deep inside I knew it was not God’s will for him to hurt me. However, without Christ’s truth in my mind and heart, I believed what I experienced and what I heard from pastors. They said my marriage vows made it my responsibility to help my abusive husband to come back to God and find healing. These are lies and misinterpretations from scriptures.
In August, in the thirteenth year of our marriage, our boys were visiting my parents. My ex-husband started calling me names again. Something snapped inside of me. I had left several times before, but this time, I was done. I wasn’t going to take his abuse anymore. I stood up to confront him, and I woke up on the floor, staring at the ceiling. A picture flashed through my mind. I remembered him telling me he would kill me before he would let me go, as he stretched his hands around my throat. I quickly scanned the room, and I realized I was alone. I was furious with my husband, myself, and God. I prayed for thirteen-years for God to stop the abuse, but nothing changed. In a rage, I screamed out, “God either you end this tonight, or I will!”
I went to the gun cabinet and took out a shotgun. I loaded it and sat in the chair across from the back door, waiting for my husband to come home. Pictures of him hurting me over the last thirteen years flashed in my mind while his degrading comments echoed in the background. I had no more tears, only rage, and darkness.
The next thing I remember was slowly opening my eyes as the sun beamed through the window in the door. Immediately, I felt the weight of the shotgun in my hands. I was horrified. I heard a peaceful voice whisper to my spirit, “I’ve made a way to escape, take it. This is not love.” At this moment, I realized God had made a way to stop the abuse, and I ran.
You would think after my abusive marriage I would stay clear of men, but all I could feel was the pain of feeling love-starved and unworthy. Deep inside I kept hoping to find true love. I let my emotions lead my life, and I married a college man. I did not realize he was a deceptive “wizard behind the curtain” who brought more verbal and mental abusive. When I asked him to get help, he filed for divorce.
After my second divorce, you would think I would not believe in love, but I knew I loved Jesus and he gave me hope. I met and married a man who loved to have fun, only to realize he “never wanted to grow up” from drug addiction and to be financially responsible. After the seventh year into our marriage, I became determined to overcome what was causing me to choose abusive relationships.
I opened my Bible and read, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God”. (Matthew 22:29) These words were a gong in my mind. I realized I had believed and lived in my dad’s definition of love for me and I didn’t know Christ’s perfect love design.
I saw how my unawareness of my brokenness, my unawareness about domestic abuse, and my unawareness of Christ’s design of love left me vulnerable to be caught in the deceptive web of abuse. As I began to discover, to understand, and to live in Christ’s design of pure love over the next six years, my heart healed. I set up healthy boundaries with my irresponsible husband, and after thirteen years, he walked out.
The end of my third marriage was very different. I didn’t feel love-starved or unworthy. I realized Christ’s love design filled my heart whether I was married or single. I stood with confidence knowing that I am worthy and filled with Christ’s unconditional love. I knew the love of people could never fill my need to feel loved unconditionally by Jesus Christ.
Living in Christ’s Love Design
As I have come to live in Christ’s design of love and use it as my compass, my heart has healed and my life now overflows with his abundance of love, joy, and peace. Using Christ’s revelations with my life lessons has helped me create a path for women and struggling marriages to find happiness and healing. They are encouraged and empowered to take control of their life, pursue their dreams, achieve their goals, and fulfill their destiny in God’s grand plan.
As I stepped into God’s purpose for my life, I was content to be single. However, in 2014 on a tour of Italy, God chose to bless me with the most amazing man. My husband lives like Christ and loves me as if I were Christ. When you use Christ’s love design as your compass, you never know what he will do for you. I am living proof that when you partner with Jesus, he can make your messes into a masterpiece!
**** Darla is now focused on educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design. Contact her for Domestic Violence introduction class, workshops, retreats, and online classes. ****
God's Transforming Grace Focused on educating individuals and churches about how to end domestic abuse by using Christ’s Perfect Love Design. Contact Darla for Domestic Violence introduction class, workshops, retreats, and online classes.
Living and Loving Fearlessly I help women break through their road block to live and love fearlessly through Christ and achieve their dreams and purpose in God’s grand plan. I help them through the forward process of transformational life coaching.
Eight years ago, Ashley Nall, found comfort in the New Age movement. She began to dive deeper into the pit of darkness by contacting spirits (spirit guides) to find hope and meaning in life. When she lost all hope...she reached out to Jesus to save her from the choices she had made.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
I vividly remember when I became an atheist eight years ago. My last prayer was me crying to God, “it’s just not logical”. Wouldn’t a life without religion be easier anyway?
Those eight years were nothing short of painful. My flesh took over, and the enemy reigned over me. I was put in bondage while believing the lies that I was truly free, and found my real identity. The first year, I was diagnosed with depression. Then at sixteen years old, I became suicidal. My life as a high school student consisted of hiding in activities that I would never complete, finding my worth in romantic relationships that left me broken and building walls in my life that no one could knock down.
My heart hardened, and I would laugh at my family for believing in “a god”. I would debate with friends about religion until they gave into my beliefs—some even, began to doubt their faith. My misery hid behind a mask of academic achievement and fake confidence on my opinion of God. My last year of high school, I received a full scholarship to a university. I placed all my hope in this college, so I could have a fresh start.
I became more relaxed about my beliefs, and I rarely shared my atheism with others. As a college student, I adopted the New Age movement into my daily life. Instantly, I found comfort in the spiritual realm, I devoted most of my time to meditation, lucid dreaming, and energy healing.
This was when I learned about “spirit guides”—which quite frankly, are demons in disguise. I found comfort in the spiritual realm, and began to have constant communication with one particular spirit. I would call on it, at times to enter my body and help me with decision making. It taught me about astral projection, which was so taxing to learn that, I began denying invitations to hang out with my friends and slacking in my college courses.
When I started to visit the spiritual realm through astral projection, I met my spirit guide face-to-face. After opening myself up to these practices, I started to get unwanted visions and intrusive thoughts. My depression caught up with me one night, and I wanted nothing more than to end my life. I called my dad, who lived two hours away from the university. He insisted to come visit me to make sure that I was okay. After a few hours of talking and calming me down, he left to go back home. Having a long day, I fell asleep, but then woke up at 11:00 PM—with a vision of a vehicle running off the road. It was horrifying!
The next day, my mom called me to say that my dad fell asleep while driving, and had a wreck at that same time and location. Gratefully, he was okay, but I knew I was losing control over whatever my life had become. Only a few days later, I called on help from the spirit guide. Within moments, I was at my computer dropping out of college. I will never understand my reasoning.
I came back home feeling beyond empty. So empty that I met a guy, and within three months of knowing each other, we moved in together. My life was officially not mine anymore.
My situation kept getting worse until September 2017. I was sitting on the porch of my new apartment, exhausted from the demons that were holding me in bondage. I was having constant panic attacks, living in a place surrounded by drugs, and having no goals other than staying with that guy at the time. I could go on and on about the lies—the pain—and my sins that controlled me until that day in September— however, I would rather tell you about how quickly my LORD put all the sorrow to death.
In the midst, of what I consider my darkest time—I had nowhere else to turn, so I looked up to the epitome of hope. I cannot begin to explain how this transition happened; it was truly a miracle! All I had to do was recognize Jesus’ name, because He already had His hand extended waiting to SAVE me. Peace immediately covered my situation, and calmed my hurricane of a mind. The panic attacks ceased. The suicidal thoughts disappeared. I wanted nothing more than to apologize to God—I wanted to explain myself, but He quieted me and told me to no longer worry.
He wanted so badly to help me get out of my current situation while, He gently washed the shame away. It was the greatest love I have ever felt! Within two days, I moved out of the apartment and began my new life. So much has changed within a year. My depression has been healed. My relations with my family have been restored. I reenrolled in college along with raising my GPA. I even started serving on the production team at my local church.
There is absolutely nothing better than having a relationship with Jesus Christ! I wish I could put into words how wonderful He is, and what all He has done for my heart and mind. I was completely and utterly lost, and by grace alone, the Good Shepherd did not stop until I was found.
Doris Homan, was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment. She grew up attending church and loved Sunday school, but yet God seemed so far. Doris's Christian Journey set her on a path of knowing God as much as she can, so she can teach others to do the same.
Since, the mid-1990's, Doris has been actively participating in women's ministries in the capacity of teaching Bible studies, leading small groups, speaking at women's faith-based events, one-on-one discipleship and Christian counseling.
----“my beloved brethren…my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord.” (Philippians 4:1)
I was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment. I grew up attending church and loved Sunday school as a child. I desired to know God but somehow He seemed far. At the age of 9 my family and I moved to the US. It was a difficult time of transition for me. Finding myself in a foreign land with no extended family or friends, I struggled with loneliness and a sense of not belonging for many years.
A couple of important things happened in my teen years; I was invited to attend an evangelical church and around the same time, some friends from high school asked me to attend Campus Crusade meetings. I began to attend both regularly and for the first time in my life I heard that I could have a relationship with God and know Him personally. This was amazing and a defining moment for me. This is what I really had desired all along, not religion but a relationship!
I struggled for a while as I felt I was already a believer in Christ but one evening, after church, I remember sitting in my room and talking to God. I acknowledged my faith in Him and my desire to have a relationship with Him. I turned leadership of my life over to Him to transform me into the person He intended me to be. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Slowly, I began to study the Bible, pray and grow in my relationship with Christ. Over time, I began to see many changes in my life. Christ took a very shy and insecure girl and transformed her into someone He can use to initiate and reach out to others. I never thought I could stand before a group of people and speak, let alone prepare lessons and teach the Bible. He gave me a purpose and a mission. (Galatians 2:20)
During my college years, I met my husband and a year later, we got married. In my thirties, the Lord began to stir in me a real desire for teaching the Bible to women. I had the opportunity to attend several training seminars by Precept Ministries and through the inductive study method, I learned how to study, prepare and lead Bible studies.
God has given me a heart for women and a passion to see them established in His Word and using their spiritual gifts in service for Him in their local church.
For the past 20 years I have led women’s Bible Studies, 6 years leading women’s Sunday school class as well as small group. It’s been a joy to work in women’s ministries side by side with other women of faith.
Soon after a Bible Study series on the Names of God, one of our ladies was diagnosed with cancer and went through a long period of treatment and recovery. I will never forget when she told me that if it wasn’t for the Names of God study we had just completed, her faith would not have been as strong during this storm in her life.
Another important part of women’s ministries is developing future leaders. I am passionate about seeing women grow into future teachers and leaders so they can train other women on their journey with Christ. (2 Timothy 2:2)
A few years ago, I saw a need for this curriculum; material that covers the basic aspects of the Christian life all in one study guide. This study is the culmination of the last 35 years of my walk with Christ. It is important as a follower of Christ to know what we believe and why we believe it. It is my heart’s desire and goal that this curriculum will have an impact in women’s lives and firmly establish them in the scriptures. It is one thing to read the Bible and another thing to study it; to dig deeper. I have often said to my ladies that the Word of God is like a mine; the more we dig the more treasure we will find.
This journey has taken over 6 years to compile with numerous revisions. I had the opportunity to take a group of about 20 women through this study after which many more revisions followed as I saw areas for improvement.
About 4 years after writing this material, God brought Davia Rinehart into my life through a mutual friend. Davia has been engaged in discipling women (Disciples of Christ) for many years. Living about 500 miles away, she graciously came to Cincinnati to meet with me several times. I am so grateful for how she has invested of herself in this project. I am indebted to her for the hours she has spent reviewing the curriculum and hours of meeting with me with her suggestions and recommendations; her godly perspective and insight enriched this material. God also sent others into my life to provide editing and input on content. It’s such a privilege to serve our faithful God. I love the opportunities He continues to give me to come alongside other women especially and pour into their lives. Discipleship is the heart of my calling.
(Galatians 2:20), describes my new life ---- “I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ lives in me and the life that I now live, I live by faith in the name of the son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.”
Dana Repetti, grew up in a dysfunctional home filled with hate, fear, alcohol, abuse, and witchcraft. Her childhood caused her to have overwhelming fear, and she became a people-pleaser with a very low self-esteem. At the age of seventeen, Dana had her first abortion. Through it all though, Dana, has learned about the beauty of God's love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. She is now helping others to do the same and has written a wonderful personalized devotional called "Being Immersed in the Father's Love".
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalms 27:13)
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I was a very depressed child and full of fear. My perspective on life and how I processed life was through a very negative lens and filter. Even though I was saved at the tender age of twelve, there were a whole host of strongholds that I would have to take captive to the obedience of Christ throughout my lifetime.
When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mom prayed that the memory of what I had endured as a child would be wiped clean. That all I would remember was from Salvation onward. I must confess I only have glimpses of my childhood.
What I do remember is that my dad was a very angry man. He was very scary to me when he got upset. Growing up in my house there was a saying, “Children were to be seen and not heard!” and I never felt as if my opinion mattered, or that I had a voice. My self-esteem was very low. I really did not know how to think for myself. I was very much a people pleaser. As long as I did everything right, I was a good girl, but if I did something wrong or that appeared wrong, I would pay the consequence. As a little girl, it felt as if it was the end of the world. I always wanted to do everything right. This perception would carry on well into my thirties. It would take a very long time to find my voice and for God to bring me into what His thoughts were towards me and what His word says about me.
My mom was a very depressed mother and wife. I always had the feeling that she hated me. When I would look into her eyes, they appeared very dark and I saw such hatred. It felt as if she wanted to kill me. I’m sure that was not the case, but it was how I felt during those years of my life. I hated going to sleep for fear that in the middle of the night; something or someone would come in my room and hurt me. I would sleep with the covers up to my neck; face the door so I would be able to protect myself, still totally frightened. It felt as if I never slept. This went on from the age of five, until I was twelve.
My mother dabbled in the occult. She would have séances, levitate, have premonitions, consult palm readers, psychics, read tarot cards and play the Ouija board. There was a lot of demonic activity in our home to say the least. She also was an alcoholic and was suicidal. I would come home from school and find her at the bottom of the basement stairs blacked out, not knowing if she was dead or alive. I remember being afraid all the time not knowing what the next day would bring.
My parents would argue and fight, which seemed like all the time to me. It was very intense and very loud. There were so many sayings in my family growing up like; we’re loud, we’re Italian, that’s how we talk, if the truth hurts, each followed by very negative, outspoken comments. No! All of which consisted of arguing and verbal abuse, yet while not understanding that as a child and living through it. I thought that was normal. There was one time my father came home from work and found my mother sitting on the floor in the corner of their bedroom, in the dark with a scotch glass in her hand. She was drunk and they began to argue. This argument must have been so intense because it is etched into my memory. My mom threw the full scotch glass at my father. I ran to my room like so many other times and would pray that God would make it stop, that they would not get divorced. I was always so frightened and living on the edge. I did not realize at the time that I was a depressed little girl as well.
I was raised as a Catholic while growing up and went to a Catholic school. Very often before heading to school, my mom would play a song from Helen Reddy, “I am woman”, and she proceeded to tell my sister and I, never to forget that we were women. There was one day my mom was so angry, I can’t remember why, but she told me she hated me and to go, get out of the house and go off to school. I remember feeling devastated. My fears of her hating me were becoming true. I was so broken that I hated the day I was born. I remember saying to God, “why, why was I born into this family. I wish I had never been born.” Sad I know. Around this time in my life, I was in a store and I saw a keychain with a witch on it. So I purchased it and I gave it to my mother and said, “This is who you are to me” and sang her a song called Witchy Woman. After I told her again saying, “This is who you are to me!” She said,”I know.” and proceeded to hang it on the knob of the kitchen cabinet. So there it stayed.
As I stated earlier, I don’t have a lot of memory of my childhood, but I remember feeling very dirty whenever my dad would hug me. As a little girl, I remember finding Playboy magazine’s under his bed on his side. For some reason, I always was able to relate to someone who was sexually abused. I only have glimpses of certain things and questions as to why I would feel so hated during those years. Before my dad passed away in 2010, I felt impressed by God to speak to my dad and released him from any torment he might be going through, from guilt of the past. I was so nervous, but I knew it was something I had to do. My dad had leukemia and meningitis to the point that it affected his brain. In the past, if I would have brought this up, he would have been on the defense and reacted angrily. Instead, he allowed me to share all my questions and concerns. I told him that God wanted me to come to him so he could be released of anything that may have taken place in the past that if anything did occur, I had forgiven him. It was the most loving and freeing time I had ever had with my dad. He had no such memories. I am sharing this to show the goodness God has to tend to the issues of our hearts. He took care of my father’s heart as well as mine. I watched God be faithful to His word in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” My dad went to be with the Lord two weeks after my visit. Gods timing and ways are perfect. I have learned to trust and obey Him even when it’s scary.
At the age of ten, I was about to make my first communion. I always loved God. He placed within me a heart that loved Him and always wanted to help people despite what I was living through. The night before I was to make my first communion, I prayed that God would allow me to die in a car accident. I thought if I died on my communion day, then I would go straight to heaven and would not have to go to purgatory. My understanding was that people had to pray you out of purgatory; after all...my mother was a drunk and she hated me, while my dad only went to church on Christmas and Easter. In my mind, I would be stuck in purgatory forever and never make it to heaven. I prayed and prayed and was so disappointed when it did not happen.
Two years later, I am now twelve years old. My mom made the decision that she is going to take her life. She said that she had such a sense of peace in making this decision, and we were all better off without her. That day, God interrupted with His divine appointment. She was in a store that morning and she ran into a cousin of hers that just moved into the area we were living. Being polite, my mom invited her over for a cup of coffee. Her cousin had given her heart to the Lord and was a born-again Christian. She began to share with my mother about how much Jesus loved and cared for her and how He died to take away her sins and redeem her life. The whole time her cousin was talking, she thought she was crazy, while she knew the plan she had in her head to take her life. As her cousin was leaving, she said to my mom, “Marge, Jesus loves you. He truly does. Just give Him a try, ask Him into your heart and to forgive you your sins.”
That evening, my mother could not get out of her mind what her cousin shared with her earlier that day. She cried out to the Lord and said, “Ok Jesus, if you’re real like Alice says you’re real, I ask that you forgive me of all my sins and come live in my heart.” She began to feel a hand go over her mouth trying to suffocate her. During this struggle, she kept hearing her cousin’s voice in her mind saying, “say Jesus is Lord!” She began to scream in her head, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord!” At the end of the struggle, she saw in her mind’s eye a vision of Jesus with His arms wide open saying, “Marge, come to me. You’re my child.” The next day, my mom poured out all the alcohol we had in our house (we had a fully stocked bar) and threw away her cigarettes as well. My father thought my mother had a nervous breakdown and he was very angry. After all, that was a lot of money to throw down the drain. My mom’s old man (spirit) died that night and she became a new creation. The power of sin and death over my mother was destroyed that evening, through the blood of Jesus Christ. My mom went to her cousin’s house the next morning, banging on the door saying, “What did you do to me?” Her cousin began having bible studies with her, praying and taking her to church. One night after my mom got home from church, my father put my mother up against the wall and said, “It’s Jesus or me!” my mom said, “It’s Jesus” and he let go of her. So now we are going to check out this church my mother is going to, making sure she is not involved in a cult. My dad would say,”I was born a Catholic, I will die a Catholic.”
In July of 1974, a Friday evening, we visited the church my mother was attending on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. I was amazed by the love, joy and peace these people had. I wanted what these people had. I asked my mother if I could go to the altar and receive Jesus in my heart. At first, she said “no”, nervous of what my father might do. My father would not think twice about hitting someone if he felt like they were bothering him or his family. He grew up fighting people his whole life. I asked again and this time my mom said “yes.” As I went up, a young man asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I responded yes!
Well, my dad was furious. He went up to the altar to grab me away from these crazy people and when he went to grab me, I immediately got filled with the Holy Spirit and he fell. My father tried again twice to get me and each time he kept falling down. He would look around, but there was nobody there. God was trying to get his attention, and that He did. My father gave his heart to the Lord that evening as well. God is amazing.
The Lord answered my prayer that evening. When I was ten, I wanted to die and go to heaven, fearful of being in purgatory. Two years later, my old man (spirit) died when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was forgiven, redeemed and had the promise of eternal life. I no longer worried about not making it to heaven.
I continued to live in joy and happiness like I never experienced before. Things were so much more hopeful and peaceful. I would attend church every time the doors were opened. I was involved in Sunday school and went on to eventually teach the two-to-four year olds who attended. I was also, involved in a youth group and helped with VBS. Life was good.
Then at the magical age of fifteen, this young man liked me. I was so flattered. He was four years older than me and on the worship team. He asked me out to the church’s Valentine’s dinner. The only problem was, I wasn’t allowed to date until the age of sixteen and I was only fifteen and a half. So I did what any teenager would do; I pleaded my cause. What magically happens in six months? After all, I will be sixteen! He’s on the worship team! I wore them down and they gave in. This would be the beginning of compromise entering my life. Slowly he became my everything. I lived to please him. In April of 1980, in my senior year of high school and at the age of seventeen, I became pregnant. I was full of fear and wanted to marry him and have the baby. We were both terrified of what my parents might do. He said my parents would kill us. So the spirit of fear drove us to make the horrible decision to have an abortion. I truly wanted to be married and have this baby. While we drove up to the abortion clinic, there were people with signs outside and one especially, stood out to me, “Mommy, don’t kill your baby”. I was sick. I wanted to die. I wanted to run from this place and I really wanted to be married and have the baby, but fear had the loudest say. This so far, was the most horrifying experience of my life. I came out of that room so sick and hatred immediately filled my heart. I would not be the same person for many years. I still wanted to die. I struggled with thoughts of suicide. The only thing that kept me was the fear of going to hell. I went into a severe depression, where guilt and condemnation were always present within me. My father told my boyfriend that he was to stay away from me, that he did not know why his daughter was so depressed. This caused more hatred to fill my heart towards my parents. I told them I hated them for breaking us up. In my mind, the only way to make what we did right was to eventually be married. This is how my seventeen-year-old mind was processing everything at the time. The enemy had me believing so many lies. I felt as if I could never be forgiven. I murdered my baby.
I continued to spiral downward. I told no one of what I did. The only people who knew were my ex-boyfriend and me. I lived with shame, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred and offense towards my ex-boyfriend for a very long time. This secret seemed to be with me every moment of every day. It was my constant companion, a continual reminder of what a failure I was and that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. The enemy had gained access of my thought life and I believed every lie he spoke. My heart became so calloused and hardened. I began to run from my thoughts by living for whatever gave me pleasure at the time. I wanted to fit in to this new world I was about to experience. The world of sinfulness. I began to drink, party, do drugs, go clubbing and do whatever I wanted to do. I hated myself. I wanted to hide from anything that had to do with the Lord. This continued for about seven years. The only problem was that God never stopped pursuing me. I couldn’t hide. I had a praying mom and I was continually convicted by the choices I was making. Psalms 139:7-8 & 11-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8.) If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there 11.) If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me” 12.) even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”
I had no rest or peace. My parents were always praying for me. The Lord truly leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one. At this time in my life, even this disturbed me. My parents would make me go to church and of course, God was always pursuing me, but I would choose to resist. There was a visiting evangelist this one Sunday and after he spoke, he had an altar call. Of course this altar call was for me, but I would not go forward, so he came to me. He said, “Jesus forgives you, now forgive yourself.” I thought if you only knew the extent of my sin, my secret, you would not be saying this to me. I murdered my baby; this is the most unforgivable sin in my mind. I could not receive what this man was speaking to me at this time in my life. My secret had me bound and truth could not enter in.
I grew tired of dating and the life I was living and I decided to pray to God, not believing He would want to even listen to me, but I prayed. I said, “Lord I am tired of dating. If you can hear me, let the next person I meet be the one I marry. I don’t care how long it takes or what he looks like, it can even be ten years from now, just let him be the one. Please, I’m tired.” The very next week, a client who went to the hair salon I worked at, asked if I wanted to go to a Fourth of July party. He was nice to talk to, but definitely not my type. I thought well, God totally did not hear my prayer but I had nothing else to do, so I went. In my rebellion I thought, my parents never like who I bring home...let me bring someone home they truly would not like. After all, I didn’t even like him. He was nice as a friend, but in no way was he boyfriend material. He was extremely wild. The stories I heard scared me. We began seeing each other more and more and before I knew it, we were dating. Then when I brought him home, my parent’s loved him! I said you have to be kidding me; I don’t even ‘like him - like him’. They said, “There is something in his eyes, he seems genuine.” About a month into our relationship, we slept together and I got pregnant. I told him I was pregnant and that I was having an abortion. I had already made plans and my girlfriend would be taking me. He said, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I said, “yes” and I have already made the arrangements!” I did not even care what he thought. I told him, “I already had an abortion from my first boyfriend, and I am not ready to be a mom!” My heart was so cold, calloused, hard and selfish. My secret was out. He was the only one I had ever told about my first abortion. I went on to have that abortion and we never spoke of it again until...well, I will get to that a little later in my story.
Things began to get serious between my boyfriend and me. He wanted to get married. We were living a partying lifestyle, drinking, smoking pot, snorting cocaine. It was crazy to say the least. All of this while knowing what God wanted. Even though I was living like this in my mind, I could not marry anyone who did not receive Jesus as their Savior. Crazy I know, so I took him to church to see what he would do. I knew in my mind if he did not believe the same way I did, I could never marry him. He was the type of person that would never do something he didn’t want to do. So I knew if he were to receive Jesus as his savior, it would be because he truly wanted to. Well, you will never believe this, that traveling evangelist was at my church again and had an altar call for Salvation. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Would you like to leave”. He said, “No, I want to check this out. I want to go up front.” I went with him and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The evangelist said to him, “Is this your wife?” and he said, “No”. The evangelist nodded his head and said, “someday!”. John drove home that evening and said this was better than any high that he ever had. God had answered my prayer that one night when I said I was tired of dating. John and I have been married for 32 years. We have three children and four grandchildren at this current time.
I would love to say that we immediately served the Lord after John received Christ, but that was not the case. We continued living a compromised lifestyle. Got engaged, got married and four months into the marriage, I was pregnant with our first daughter. We discussed living right before the Lord, now that we would be parents. We had a friend that would come by every Saturday and bring over cocaine. This was my husband’s drug of choice. This one Saturday evening he was over, I went into the bathroom and began to pray. I said, “Lord, we promised to stop this and live for you. Please show up. Let us never do this again. Deliver us.” I started praying in tongues in the bathroom. The gifts of God are truly irrevocable. I went out into the living room where they were waiting for me and I was filled with words of knowledge. Our friend could not open his hand to put the cocaine out on the table. He was flipping out as God was speaking through me. He kept saying, “Man, I can’t open my hand.” John was getting very angry saying, “Put it out!” and his friend kept saying, “I can’t”. Then John told me to “SHUT UP”. Filled with the Spirit, I remember saying, “Satan would love for me to shut up, but I am going to speak what the Spirit tells me to speak”. I continued to speak whatever the Spirit had me speak. At the end of this encounter, John’s friend opened his hand to put the cocaine out and it was all melted. John got delivered that night and we have never touched any drug again after that evening, nor returned to a compromised lifestyle. His friend came to church with us the next day, as he was blown away at the events that took place that evening.
Our journey with God began after that evening. I had asked God to forgive me of my sins, but forgiving me was a lot more difficult. Now would begin a process of many strongholds breaking off my life and my mind being transformed, renewed through the word of God and confession of my sins. I no longer kept what I was struggling with a secret. When we moved to Pennsylvania and got involved in a church, around the age of twenty-eight, we were asked to become youth leaders. My conscious would not let me be free to do ministry with the guilt I carried around of having two abortions. I confessed to my pastor what I had done. He led me in prayer and gave me the scripture in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I read it and thought it was good. It wasn’t until I meditated on what it truly said, that I was set free from the guilt of my sin. It said, “ALL”, unrighteousness, not some. The word ALL jumped off the page. All means all, not some. I began to reason in my mind. If God can forgive and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, how can I not forgive myself? Am I greater than God? No, of course not. So I prayed and said to the Lord, “Jesus thank you for forgiving me of ALL unrighteousness. No matter how big the sin, I choose to forgive me! Enable me to love and serve you all the days of my life. I did not deserve this grace and mercy, but I receive it in full measure. I Love you with all my being and I am eternally grateful to you.” It is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free from our own reasoning and the lies of the enemy. God is truth and there is no lie found in Him.
At around the age of thirty-six, John and I went through a program called Cleansing Stream and that was the first time we ever spoke of the abortion we had when we only dated for a month. God brought much healing into our lives at this time.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3.) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4.) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I have lived through many trials throughout my lifetime. There would be too many to write about in this testimony. From 2008-2015 John and I walked through a very difficult season in our lives. During this time, I chose to rise up in my Spirit man and declare the goodness of God in the land of the living, regardless of the circumstances or outcome. John and I lost our home of twenty-five years due to the economy affecting his business. I was in a car accident in 2012, with no health insurance and during that time, lost four family members to cancer and illness. Out of this, God would have me write a personalized devotional, “Being Immersed in the Father’s Love” in obedience to the Lord’s directive. This is His heartbeat to all His Children. It is a personalized devotional that Immerses you into His kind intentions towards you through His word, no matter what the circumstances. Whether you know the Lord for one day, one hundred years, or not at all, this devotional will touch your life in an intimate way. He is a good, good Father! He orders our steps. The good steps and the hard steps. Receive His love, His truth, and His promises. May every lie be broken and cast down in Jesus name! Amen!
"Come and be immersed in the overwhelming love of God the Father. Encounter His desire and the kind intentions that He has for you through the personalizing of scripture presented in this devotional. Picture a waterfall of God's promises washing over you and fully immersing you through the faithfulness of what He has promised to you in His word. Where negative mind-sets and perspectives will be washed away and replaced with great worth and value. Experience how you will be enabled to have victory in your life even while encountering difficult trials and circumstances. Your trust and faith will increase as you engage with Him. He is desiring you and is willing to give you all that He has promised. Come and encounter the goodness of God the Father and allow Him to lavish His love upon you. All you need to do is be willing to receive what He is providing. He is trustworthy and will not disappoint! Come and be immersed!"
Ralph Brown, 50, of Spring Hill, and Robert Brown, 51, of Merritt Island, managed to cross the Atlantic in a Suzuki powered 21' Flats Boat that Ralph's company, Dream Boats, Inc made. This boat, does not have a cabin, a keel to stabilize the boat if it were to flip, a sail, an escort, and---it had to carry its own fuel. They were exposed to the elements for the entire voyage and survived being run over by an iceberg in Greenland, almost running out of fuel hundreds of miles from shore, refusing to be rescued three separate times, surviving massive waves from the remnants of two hurricanes, being slammed into rocks by gale force winds, running out of money, and---many other amazing events during the 8,312 mile voyage.
Robert and Ralph Brown's purpose for this outrageous 8,312 mile voyage was to honor Robert's former Marine comrades who died in 1980 in a botched mission called Operation Eagle Claw, in which several branches of the military attempted to liberate the American Embassy in Iran after terrorists took the ambassador and his staff hostage. The brother's raised money for military charities and began to publicize their boat’s seaworthiness so that the brothers could get their boat company, Dream Boats Global recognized to help business.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 – Cartwright, Labrador, Canada
When we woke up this morning [They were anchored just offshore.—Ed] we were surrounded by whales, which is kind of neat. We saw a few seals and several whales blowing and eating fish not too far from us. Then we also got surrounded by mosquitoes...So we were glad to fire the engine up and get moving. This is our last night in North America. We will be ending up in a Nuuk Greenland, about 600 miles away.
Wednesday, July 29 – In the Atlantic
Once we were about 30 minutes off shore we started putting on our ‘cold-weather’ gear, which is long underwear and boots. Also we are rearranging our sleeping area. It may not be much but it is an improvement. We are sitting much deeper in the water because we are carrying a lot more fuel.
Video of what it's like in the Atlantic in a flats boat....
Thursday, July 30 – In the Atlantic
11:36 AM: Last night was the most miserable night we have had yet. It was wet all night and very, very cold. But we are moving along, moving steadily. Always when we load the boat with gasoline, the first 100 miles we get terrible fuel (economy) and terrible performance. It has been about 6 foot seas out of the east most of the way. Not good. It is cold and windy. Hopefully the sun will come out today. We counted 21 icebergs yesterday and named 5 of them.
We are about 150 to 200 miles off the coast of Canada. Not making very good time thanks to glaciers and fog, and occasionally 8 to 10 foot waves.
3:20 PM: The waves are steadily been getting bigger and bigger, coming closer and closer, and that means they are building, and are not going in our direction...we are going very, very slow, we are not going to make Nuuk Greenland at our predicted time.
Saturday, August 1 – 152 miles from Nuuk, Greenland
At 3 AM this morning we picked up our sea anchor and started moving forward about 90 miles before the wind/seas picked back up again. It is still against us, but not really bad, we could easily go on but we are very concerned about our fuel consumption and because of that we are dropping the sea anchor and are going to wait for calmer seas, or the wind at our back, otherwise we can sit for a couple of days if we have to.
When we left Cartwright Labrador we had 310 gallons of fuel on board which is more than enough to go 900 miles under normal conditions. However we are only going 600 miles and the wind and waves were supposed to be out of SE at 3-4 feet. Unfortunately, instead we had waves about 5-9 feet, a little bigger than that in some cases and strong winds out of due E, right in our faces the whole time which ate our fuel, so now we are very conscious of the fuel left and are waiting for the right weather to burn it. We have our sea anchor out to minimize our drift and we are going from there.
Sunday, August 2 – Moving Again
We are now using our 9.9 horsepower kicker which is running well and giving us good gas mileage. It burns about three quarters of a gallon per hour and we are moving at 4 knots. When we started this process we had 60 gallons on board. That was enough to go for 100 hours at 4 knots or 400 miles. We don’t want to go that far at 4 knots per hour, we have around 100 miles to go.
Tuesday, August 4 – Arrived at the Greenland Coast!
5:00 AM in Greenland which is part of Europe! Every which way you can look are icebergs and rock islands. Unfortunately gas is almost 20 miles inland, reachable by water.
Thursday, August 6 – With the Greenlanders
Icebergs sink boats. They won't sink this Intruder 21, but they might damage the prop. That is why we are dodging these icebergs, and growlers, small chucks of Ice.
You have to realize how few Greenlanders there actually are. But they all seem so friendly. We met them today on our way from Qaqortoq to Nanortalik. (Population 300.)
Everyone seems to have a hard time believing that we came from Florida in this flats boat, it is only 4,400 miles. What is the problem?
Saturday, August 8 – It Is Getting Cold!
Last night Bob and I were on our way to Aappilattoq, an Island on the Way to our last stop in Greenland, Tasiilaq. It was dark and the wind was blowing hard. Driving at night is very dangerous because of the small icebergs. If you don't see them they could break your motor or sink some boats, not an Intruder.
After a while we took shelter behind an Island. We put out two anchors. We went to sleep. Bob on top of the bean bag wedged behind the helm. Me, on the back of the boat in the surf board bag. It is semi waterproof and semi warm. I was sleeping with two pairs of socks, a survival suit, the Interstate Battery Jacket, a separate jacket liner, three pairs of pants, gloves, my Interstate Battery Hat, a hood, and a shirt on. I completely zip it up around me except for a tiny air hole. I am sawing logs, sound asleep.
Wednesday, August 12 – Last Day in Greenland
Tasiilaq, Greenland is a town of about 1000 people located on the east side of Greenland. The whole east side of Greenland is uninhabited with a few exceptions. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Giant mountains come to the sea, with glaciers becoming Icebergs.
Seals, birds and whales roam while the thousands of icebergs float by. It is a 400 mile run between the town of Prince Christianson (Population 5) to Tasiilaq. On the 400 mile run from Prince Christianson we got rained on several times. It is a fine mist of rain that covers everything, our hands and feet were frozen. At that point it is very hard to sleep on the boat.
Thursday, August 13 – Only 147 Miles to Iceland!
12:49 PM: As we left Tasiilaq Greenland yesterday afternoon a whole bunch of kids gave us a standing ovation and some of them jumped into the 35 degree water with icebergs floating everywhere and the kids were swimming in the icy waters to say good bye to us.
We had some hot Quaker oatmeal for breakfast/lunch and we are approx. 147 miles northwest of Reykjavik Iceland.
Thursday August 20 -- Off to the Faroe Islands, 250 Miles Away
2:30 PM: We just left Westmen Island full of gas, going very smoothly, weather is beautiful, rolling breeze, four footers, calm seas, absolutely gorgeous. We also know we are just ahead of the big storm. It’ll take us a couple of hours burning off enough gas before we can go faster, we will be putting along at 8-9 mph heading toward Faroe Islands. We’ll get there tomorrow around noon give or take; it depends on how we beat the storm. We should be seeing some big seas.
10:36 PM: We are 250 miles from the Faroe Islands, black as all get out, trying to outrun the storm. We cannot see where we are going.
Many people think answered prayer is about how holy we are. I think that is wrong. I think answered prayer is about who God is. That is why we see people like David, Samson, and Elijah getting prayers answered. David and Samson did terrible things, yet, they prayed. God heard their prayers. All three took massive risks. The scriptures teach us that Elijah was a man of like passions as us…. Yet he prayed.
Bob and I are regular people, nothing special about us. We will tell you, we prayed, not because of how good we are, but because we needed God’s help.
There are dozens and dozens of episodes that cannot be explained other than God chose to smile on the I Am Second Wounded Hero Voyage. I Am Second means God is first. Here are four quick stories.
Friday, August 21 – 104 Miles from the Faroe Islands
We are 104 miles northwest of the Faroe Islands. We are still trying to beat the storm. The waves have kicked up to about 10 to 12 feet! They are still coming out of the southwest while we are going southeast. They are not helping us any at all. As a matter of fact they are hurting a little bit. We have to go slow. Bob and I are both soaking wet from head to toes from both rain and waves. It is raining off and on. Waves are splashing over the front of the boat.
Saturday, August 22 – “It Can’t Sink, It Can’t Sink, It Can’t Sink.”
[Written at a computer after the fact.—Ed.] It can't sink, it can't sink, it can't sink were the words going through my mind along with help us Lord Jesus, and trust your equipment. Bob is saying don't panic. He did not remember saying those words to me, but it actually helped me to remember not to panic.
Huge waves are breaking into the boat, we are being pushed up on a shoal among the Faroe Islands. The boat is full of water and if it is not tied down it is gone. The antenna has fallen, the T top dry box just bounced open and all my important papers are falling, the waves are pushing us up to the rocks that we can't see, it is pitch black out with a cloud cover, our spotlight is only good for a few feet because of the fog. We are scared, I am scared both for my life and for the mission, especially the mission.
The waves are over 10 foot and it is black out. We see a couple of light houses in the distance, and Bob wants to tuck in behind an Island.
I want to get out to the open sea. I will take my chances with the bigger waves, but not the rocks. Bob, let me take the helm, gladly. It won't sink, it won't sink, it won't sink. Don't panic. Don't panic, Help me Lord, help us Lord, please, Trust your equipment. Trust your equipment. I set a course back out. The boat is full of water, more waves are breaking.
Aluminum pipes holding the T-top broken in numerous places
We are talking to search and rescue, we only want directions, they want information, and I don't want to change screens to give them the coordinates.
Can't get the boat straight, Bob climbs out to fix the antenna, waves are still breaking into the boat. It is pitch black out and it is hard to drive by GPS only. It is slow to respond, hard to starboard, why won't this heading change, too far, hard to port hard to port. Waves are still breaking into the boat. Suddenly there is a bright star or a planet. We lock in on our bearing. We get the boat straight, trust your equipment. Bob wants me to do something, can't take my eyes off the screen, suddenly we are spinning around again, don't know where the rocks are. There is the star, keep it on the right, starboard.
We are back out to open sea. The waves stop breaking. We get in the shelter of some islands. Wow, we are still going. The mission is still on!!!!
Tuesday, August 25 – Making Repairs
After 6000 miles and over 50,000 times slamming a 350 pound fuel tank on the deck we had some damage. We spent most of the day scrounging up some resin and glass. The repairs are basically completed.
Wednesday, August 26 – Casting off for the Shetland Islands
5:46 PM: We will be heading out momentarily and driving all night. We want to be in the Shetlands early in the morning and off to Orkney Islands later. There is a low pressure over Ireland now that will be moving over across Scotland then out to sea. We want to get to the coast of Scotland before the storm.
Bob and I decided not to wait for perfect weather and jump from Island to Island down to London and get there hopefully on or before September 2.
Friday, August 28 – Caught By the Storm, 15’ Seas!
After we left Scalloway, Shetland Islands, the weather started getting rough right away. Soon after we left the Islands it became apparent that the weather report we saw was not going to give us the eight hours we expected to make the crossing to the Orkney Islands. The winds picked up to about 40 mph and the waves picked up to about 10 -12 ft with an occasional 15 ft wave. They were coming out of the North West and we were heading South West. They were on our beam, coming at our side. (The most dangerous direction they could come from to our tiny little boat.) But the Intruder did well. A flats boat in breaking 15 foot seas! I have always said 12 foot was my max, before I threw out the sea anchor.
Out there the boat seemed to handle it well. Yes, there were about three close calls, Bob says about six. I only remember three where we could have flipped extremely easily if I did not turn the boat just right. One time we launched way up in the air and the wind caught the boat it came down on its tail and twisted sideways, well that was an eye opener. I wasn't going that fast; we just hit that wave just right. God was smiling on us. Let’s face it he has been smiling on us this whole trip.
Our T-top has just about had it and all the pipes are cracking. I don't understand it, the T-top is a super expensive one made with extra and larger aluminum pipes. The guy that built it and installed it says it is the best one made by anyone and he charges a lot for it. I am not sure what the problem is. It may have something to do with the 50,000 times we have slammed the boat down. By the way that number 50,000 times is not an exaggeration, it is probably low.
Trying to get the boat air shipped back on U.S. military transport
[In the next couple of weeks Bob and Ralph Brown made it down the east coast of Scotland, England, stopping in at London, the across the English Channel to Holland and Germany, arriving at their final destination on September 10th.